Outdoor dining areas are now set up and orders are being taken in downtown San Mateo, where B Street between Second and Third avenues is closed to vehicular traffic and parklets have been installed on many intersecting streets.
The parklets have been created by erecting a barricade parallel to the sidewalk so that tables and chairs can be placed on public on-street parking spaces. Vehicular traffic is still allowed on the streets with parklets.
Outdoor dining is also occurring on sidewalks in certain areas and there is a partial street closure on B Street between First and Baldwin avenues.
The parklets are ADA accessible and, on the blocks that have them, the city has created short-term parking spaces near the corner of the block to accommodate deliveries and takeout orders.
While parklets are currently concentrated downtown, Public Works is offering to work with restaurateurs anywhere in the city to install a customized parklet in front of their restaurant if they so choose. Only a simple application is required.
On Monday, the council adopted an emergency ordinance suspending enforcement of minimum parking space requirements for private parking lots so outdoor dining can also proceed at shopping centers and strip malls.
The council has already taken action to temporarily allow restaurants to serve alcohol outdoors and is also waiving the $347 permit fee, though permitting by Alcohol Beverage Control is still required.
As with many other cities, outdoor dining is being implemented to provide additional space to restaurants to serve as many diners as possible while social distancing restrictions are in effect. Without outdoor spaces, restaurants, known for operating on thin profit margins, will be unable to reach full capacity.
Guidelines for safely dining outdoors have been posted to the city’s website.
In other business, various city facilities continue to reopen. Dog parks, basketball courts and fields are open, but organized sports teams and pickup games are still not allowed, said city spokeswoman Samantha Weigel.
Also open are skate parks, open spaces, the Japanese garden, tennis courts, bocce courts and most parking lots. But playgrounds, picnic areas and community centers remain closed.
During Monday’s meeting, City Manager Drew Corbett said summer aquatics programming has been canceled due to limited program capacity based on required health guidelines as well as staffing limitations.
“We don’t foresee to be able to have any aquatics programming this summer unfortunately,” he said.
City Hall has been open since June 1 with limited staffing and walk-in traffic as staff continues to encourage residents to use online resources as much as possible.
The main library has offered curbside pickup for several weeks and new materials were made available for checkout on Tuesday. Also that day curbside pickup began at the Marina and Hillsdale library branches.
The first session of summer camp offered by Parks and Recreation reached 84% capacity as of Monday while 625 people registered for the department’s various virtual programs.
Tennis has also been popular as there have been more than 750 court registrations over a four-week period.
Also, street sweeping resumed in the city earlier this week and enforcement is set to return in roughly three weeks to be aligned with the return of downtown meter enforcement.
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