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Local restaurant struggles with San Luis Obispo drive-through ban

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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Restaurants across the central coast are relying on drive-through as a safe alternative during the Coronavirus outbreak.

But if you’ve ever driven through the city of San Luis Obispo you may notice there are no fast food drive-throughs.

That’s because they were banned by city council years ago.

As fast as the Coronavirus is spreading, Frank's Famous Hot Dogs is losing customers.

"We've been here for almost 50 years and normally this place is always busy and right now if you look at this place it looks like a ghost town," said Hector "Frank" Martinez with Frank's Famous Hot Dogs.

Martinez said the business has lost about 80 percent of its customers.

And working in a city that has banned drive throughs doesn’t make it any easier.

Martinez said if the restaurant had a drive -through, he believes customers would feel less afraid to get their orders.

"It’s very hard because just to take it out some people are kind of skeptical," said Martinez.

City leaders said the ban started in the 1980s to actually help small business.

"My understanding when they were making that decision was wanting to support local restaurants and to get people out of their cars and into our community and also wanting to not have cars idling and the environmental impacts of it," said mayor Heidi Harmon with the City of San Luis Obispo.

The policy is still in place, and the city has no plans to change that.

But the city is allowing curbside pickup as an alternative during the outbreak.

Martinez hopes one day that ban will be lifted especially considering the current health concern in the community.
California / Coronavirus / Economy / Environment / Safety / San Luis Obispo County / Video

Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martelotti is a reporter at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.