Outdoor dining reopens


Ayla Azizalili

In San Carlos, parts of streets are being taken up by tables and chairs to provide outdoor dining for restaurants.

California lifted their Regional Stay at Home Order on Jan. 25, allowing restaurants to reopen outdoor dining. With the return of outdoor dining, many restaurants are welcoming their customers back.

Restaurants now open their patios or use the sidewalks on closed streets to seat customers. Many customers like to sit down at restaurants, so outdoor seating will help businesses.

“I’m glad that the county lifted the restrictions and we are able to reopen the outdoor dining. I believe my customers are happy about that, too. Hopefully, the weather will be a lot nicer soon, and people would love to just dine outside,” said the owner of Zadna, a Mediterranean restaurant. 

Places like Laurel Street in San Carlos closed the road to traffic. It gives restaurants more room for outdoor seating but makes it harder for customers to get to them.

“I do think it will impact my business in a very positive way, but obviously, the streets closing can be a burden to many customers, especially if they have to walk a longer distance to reach the restaurants or struggle with finding a place for parking,” the owner said.

Even though the restrictions were lifted on Jan. 25, many restaurants couldn’t open outdoor dining immediately. Poor weather conditions such as heavy rainfall have relayed reopenings.

“Since indoor dining is still not allowed by the state, the only option is outdoor dining. Unfortunately, we have not been able to open up to customers quite yet since the weather wasn’t great, and customers wouldn’t want to sit outside while it rained. Now that the rain is gone, we are going to try to open our patio in the next week,” said Toby McMillen, the owner of Waterdog Tavern.

Furthermore, it is still in question whether or not it is a good idea to start outdoor dining once again. With COVID cases still rising in California, many people are worried that lifting the stay at home order may worsen the pandemic.

“Due to the fact that businesses are reopening, like restaurants and so on, more people are going outdoors and sitting in restaurant patios, resulting in more contact with other people. I believe that with everyone going out, the COVID cases will rise even more, and the pandemic will last even longer,” said Madeline Chu, a sophomore at Carlmont High School.

Despite streets closing, bad weather, and the worry of potentially raising COVID cases, many restaurants have benefited since the Regional Stay at Home Order was lifted.

“I see our restaurant having a positive outcome from outdoor dining reopening, especially since people are getting sick of staying at home and always ordering take out,” McMillen said.

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