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Takeout dining allowed at outdoor seating areas in some San Luis Obispo County cities, with restrictions

San Luis Obispo parklet
Diners enjoy lunch at Big Sky Cafe in San Luis Obispo on Monday afternoon. (Dave Alley/KEYT)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Outdoor dining is allowed once again in San Luis Obispo County, but with several restrictions in place.

Customers can dine in outdoor seating areas, such as patios and parklets, but restaurants will not be allowed to provide table service.

All sales will be takeout or delivery only.

For restaurants that have outdoor areas and wish to offer seating, customers can take their to-go orders to tables and enjoy their meal.

"It's very, very beneficial to us," said Big Sky Cafe owner Greg Holt. "People want to eat and being able to give them their food and they have a place to sit down and take care of themselves and feed themselves there is just a Godsend."

Holt said outdoor dining is essential for the popular downtown San Luis Obispo restaurant, which is providing several tables along Broad Street for its customers.

"It easily doubled my to-go sales, compared to the first close down," said Holt. "It has definitely been a great boost to be able to feed people outside again."

In addition to takeout and delivery only service, restaurants much adhere to several other restrictions.

According to the Public Health, customers must follow the State's rules on gatherings and restaurants will still be required to sanitize tables and make sure seating is spaced properly apart, per COVID-19 guidelines.

Another key restriction is that alcohol is not allowed to be consumed in any outdoor dining area.

"That's been a limitation and that's a limitation that I've heard from many of the other restaurants around town and that's just really a killer for them," said Holt. "Alcohol is the number one profit maker in restaurants. Not being able to do that is devastating to a lot of folks."

Despite limitations, diners say they're happy to have the choice once again to eat in the outdoor eating areas.

"It gives me a sense of norm, so I'm super excited," said Michelle Hugo, just after ordering lunch at Big Sky Cafe. "Otherwise I'd be isolated in my truck during my lunch hours, and after a while, it gets real old and almost depressing."

The County said the update guidelines are subject to change should conditions warrant.

For Holt, he is hoping his parklet remains open.

"I wouldn't be here if we didn't have those parklets out there to help us serve people," said Holt. "When we got purple openings, and red openings, it was all great, and good, and wonderful to have people back inside my building again, but if I hadn't had those parklets, Big Sky Cafe would not be here today. "

Article Topic Follows: Money and Business

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.


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