The Lompoc City Council has adopted an urgency ordinance allowing outdoor dining at city restaurants through the rest of this year.
“COVID, in general, for restaurant and industry has been a problem," said Larry Williams, the owner of Pizza Gardens in Lompoc.
There’s no doubt the pandemic affected the restaurant and food industry. That’s why Williams says he’s glad Lompoc is allowing the extension of outdoor dining.
“I think it’s a great option, okay. Just in case things go backward, we’re already set up, we don’t have to put everything away and bring it back out," Williams said.
According to the National Restaurant Association, in a survey conducted in September of 2021, outdoor dining became a lifeline for many restaurants with 61% of operators that offer outdoor dining saying there was an increase in demand for outside seating as new COVID-19 variants emerged.
For Lompoc business owners, it’s all about having options for their customers.
“It also gives small businessmen, like me, give customers the option if they’re feeling a bit insecure about going inside, they can still sit outside," Williams said.
An option that Sherree Green says she enjoys.
“I think it’s a very good idea and it gives you a chance to be out in the nice weather when it’s nice out," Greene said.
Williams says if parklets and outdoor dining stick around long-term, he would invest in the beautification of his dining area.
City officials say this is a way to help local businesses generate revenue.