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Parklets in Downtown San Luis Obispo helping restaurants during the stay-at-home order

Posted at 6:31 PM, Dec 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 00:15:47-05

Under the current regional stay-at-home order, restaurants are only allowed to be open for takeout or delivery but some downtown San Luis Obispo restaurants are allowing customers to take advantage of the parklets installed by the city.

Although customers aren't allowed to dine inside, parklets give people an opportunity to grab their takeout order and sit down to eat, which is something restaurants around downtown San Luis Obispo say is a big help.

"It's a huge motivator for people. With Eureka! and what we do, it's not just food, it’s an experience and just being able to allow people to be out here in the open during times like this is a huge help for us," said Micah Park, Eureka! General Manager.

The County of San Luis Obispo has decided to allow people to eat their takeout orders outside in parklets, something customers say they enjoy even if they only have the takeout option.

"I personally don't mind. I mean, it's better than not having this at all so if the alternative is to have it in a takeout manner I'm 100% for it,” resident Rodrigo Gonzalez said.

But for servers like Pedro Arias, who works at Big Sky Cafe, not being able to wait tables is difficult.

"You know, when you are a server, it's amazing because you have this contact with the people,” Arias said.

With the restrictions, restaurants are not allowed to wait on any tables or serve alcohol, which is a big profit maker for most businesses. They must also continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

In a statement, the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department said, "Consumers must follow the state's rules on gatherings and restaurants will still be required to sanitize tables and make sure seating is far apart, per COVID-19 guidelines. It is up to each jurisdiction to allow the public to eat takeout at parklets."

Safety is something Park says is always a priority.

"We follow all the local guidelines and regulations to make sure that we can keep ourselves and our guests as safe as possible during these times. The last thing we would want is not being able to currently enjoy what we are being able to do,” he said.

The city originally put up the parklets when the pandemic began to help restaurants out but say it is ultimately up to restaurant owners if they want to continue to use them during this stay-at-home order.