Poway mayor wants to extend relaxed outdoor dining rules indefinitely

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POWAY, Calif. – The mayor of Poway is proposing extending the city’s relaxed outdoor dining rules indefinitely as the coronavirus pandemic stretches on into the fall with restaurants still only allowed to hold limited service indoors.

About 30 restaurants have taken advantage of the picnic tables the city purchased and loaned out in July to help eateries expand outdoor seating capacity. When they no longer are needed by restaurants, Mayor Steve Vaus, who proposed purchasing the tables, recommended they be used in parks throughout the city.

The city also loosened restrictions this year to help restaurants serve food in makeshift dining areas in their streets and parking lots.

“That was a lifesaver,” Vaus said. “They didn’t necessarily have access to go out and buy new furnishings.”

Vaus wants to make the changes permanent at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

If that happens, it would continue to help dozens of local business including the Hamburger Factory on Midland Road.

“When they put the restrictions on outdoor dining only, we had no outdoor tables,” said Kevin Jette, general manager at Hamburger Factory. “We actually were closed completely for over three weeks and I was unemployed for the first time in 30 years.”

Jette said customers have enjoyed the tables, many times even preferring them to indoor seating.

“People absolutely love them,” Jette said. “It worked so well.”

Tuesday’s Poway City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. The meeting will be streamed online at poway.org/councilmeetings.

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