PLEASANTON (KPIX) – Al fresco dining has become a lifeline for many restaurants in downtown Pleasanton and elsewhere during the pandemic, but the city is now ordering businesses to remove their parklets or expose themselves to harm. fines.
The move comes just as the increase in omicron variant COVID cases has a growing number of customers requesting outdoor seating, creating a problem for restaurants and diners. Many clients are not ready to return.
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“It’s like, ‘Oh, how are we going to eat out and still go to our favorite place? “Because we don’t care about going inside,” said Pleasanton resident Ruth Van Art.
For Van Art and her husband, it’s the return of take-home meals.
“That’s the problem. We don’t feel safe inside,” she said.
Maurice Dissel, owner of family restaurant Pleasanton Oyo, said tearing down the parklet was a terrible mess.
“It’s such a beautiful parklet. And it makes me sick to have to remove it, ”lamented Dissel, who said he spent $ 12,000 on the outdoor park just a year ago, to be faced with this order to demolish it.
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“Right now it’s the return to indoor dining and probably take-out, as a large percentage of people still aren’t comfortable sitting inside,” Dissel said. .
The order is part of a municipal plan that will require restaurant owners on Main Street to apply for a permit to install parklets that are city approved and meet certain design specifications. Some East Bay residents are questioning the timing.
“I’m just surprised they take it off. Like, why are they removing it? We still have COVID and it’s a very comfortable place. We want to sit down and watch the six-foot distance, ”said a guest.
“Overall it’s kind of a big shock to the restaurant industry,” said a food server in Pleasanton who went by his name as Michael. He said restaurants were hit hard again, noting that restaurants were also short of workers who had to call in sick amid the omicron-fueled spike.
“The slightest sign of a cough or anything could prevent you from working. Our revenues have been hit very hard, ”said Michael.
Dissel says he’s trying to stay positive.
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“We are going to rebuild it bigger and better. It’s the Oyo method, ”he laughed.