Encinitas restaurants one step closer to outdoor dining

Business

ENCINITAS, Calif. — Restaurants in Encinitas are one step closer to expanding business to outdoor dining.

Encinitas City Council voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of adopting the idea, and now the focus is on making it happen as safely as possible. The vote didn’t give the green light to start shutting down city streets for restaurants to expand business, but it served as an indicator that council members are all in favor of adopting the plan and realizing they need to meet with the Coastal Commission and city staff to make sure they do it as safely as possible.

One thing that will happen immediately is designating up to 20% of on-street parking along Coast Highway into curbside pick-up services for both retail stores and restaurants. Each space will be limited to 30-minute parking.

Council will revisit the idea of outdoor dining on June 10. They’re still figuring out the details but hope to get started soon.

South Coast Highway 101 is full of local restaurants and retail, many of which are hurting right now due to COVID-19.

“I watch all the businesses around here suffer including my own and encourage everybody to be on board with this because it’s important,” said Malia Bolen, owner of Bliss 101. She says she fully supports the city council’s move to allow outdoor dining. “Everyone is ready to get back to work. Everybody is ready to get back to a little normalcy.”

Just a few doors down is Eve, a vegan restaurant. When an employee heard about the city’s idea to close off streets for outdoor dining, he was excited.

“Seeing people excited to come here excites me. It’s one of my favorite things. This is the clientele that come in and have great conversation and they miss that,” Codie Barnett said.

But the concept of outdoor dining is worrisome for some, including the staff at Plumeria.

“Since we still don’t have a vaccine, we don’t feel it’s safe for our employee and the customer so that way we don’t want to open for dine-in yet,” an employee said.

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