Encinitas officials temporarily ease outdoor drinking rules for restaurants

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ENCINITAS, Calif. — Encinitas city officials temporarily are easing rules on drinking on sidewalks and city-owned property in an attempt to help local restaurants navigate new pandemic restrictions.

City Council unanimously approved Friday a decision to lift its ban on possession of open alcoholic beverages in the public right-of-way.

The ruling allows licensed restaurants to serve alcohol to customers outdoors. It’s just the latest creative measure to keep establishments afloat after San Diego County officials announced last week that bars, restaurants and wineries, among others, would have to cease indoor operations due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“Our businesses throughout Encinitas are all struggling with the onset of the pandemic,” Councilman Tony Kranz said. “We wanted to help our restaurants.”

The lift of alcohol rules is temporary during the pandemic. All food and alcohol services must end at 10 p.m. daily. 

Similar such efforts have taken place in Escondido — which recently set up cones for outdoor seating on Grand Avenue from Maple to Juniper streets — and in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter where Fifth Avenue closes to traffic on select days for a service called Curbside Gaslamp.

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