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Small business owners and community members rally in downtown SLO to keep outdoor dining open

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Posted at 11:39 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-12 02:40:44-05

Residents and business owners gathered in Mission Plaza in downtown San Luis Obispo the evening of Dec. 11 to speak out against the regional stay-at-home order and to ask for outdoor dining to be re-opened in SLO County.

Owners, employees, and customers took turns sharing their thoughts on the recent shutdown of outdoor dining in the county.

San Luis Obispo County music lesson business owner, Kenneth Davis, says he hopes balance can be found in the community.

“We hope that people continue to take COVID and all the precautions seriously, but steer towards finding a good balance where people are able to thrive and sustain their lives,” he said.

Some restaurant owners are even looking into starting a non-profit to help.

“There’s federal government money out there, there's state government, there are non profits that want to support us, and there are individual members of our community that want to support us and keep us alive,” Big Sky Cafe co-owner and operator Greg Holt said,

The City of San Luis Obispo released a statement online regarding the rally stating:

"The City and the San Luis Obispo Police Department are fully supportive of the rights for peaceful expression in a safe and lawful manner at events such as this."

They City also writes, "We ask that anyone participating observe public health recommendations and protect yourself from COVID-19 by wearing a face covering and maintaining physical distance."

Holt believes that local restaurants make the city unique.

"The flavor of San Luis Obispo is the flavor of our restaurants, it's how we express ourselves to the community ....I want to keep doing this for another 15 years," he said.

Many business owners at the rally say the most important thing for them is making sure their employees are able to work this holiday season and ask for the city's support in keeping small businesses open

KSBY news reached out to San Luis Obispo City Mayor Heidi Harmon to ask for additional response from the city regarding the rally, but have not heard back yet.