On May 4, 2020, the Governor of the State of California released industry guidelines to begin the process of lessening restrictions on businesses including restaurants and lower-risk workplaces, allowing for the opening of restaurants for limited in-person dining and outdoor dining, subject to restrictions concerning social distancing, facial coverings, and employee protection measures, among other measures. On May 23, 2020, the California Department of Public Health approved a request by San Bernardino County to re-open restaurants, retail, shopping malls, and specified other businesses and services within San Bernardino County, subject to applicable State Covid-19 Industry Guidance and Covid-19 compliant safety measures.
The Covid-19 Industry Guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health for dine-in restaurants (Attachment A) requires the establishment of a written worksite-specific Covid-19 prevention plan that requires a restaurant, among other things, to:
- Provide employee training on infection control and prevention measures;
- Require use of facial coverings by employees and customers;
- Maintain a list of contact information of employees and customers to enable contact-tracing, if necessary;
- Individual control measures and self-screening;
- Prioritize outdoor dining and curbside pick-up options;
- Cleaning and disinfecting protocols, including cleaning surfaces often and certain hygiene protocol for menus, shared food items, utensils, etc.;
- Physical distancing guidelines, including requiring a distance of six feet between employees and customers;
- Special considerations for restaurants, such as selling “to-go” alcoholic beverages or allow service outdoors for an establishment operating with an on-sale alcohol license.
This item presents a proposal to close limited portions of State Street (between Orange Street and Sixth Street) and Fifth Street (between Redlands Boulevard and Citrus Avenue). Although final details are still being worked out with the restaurants and other affected businesses, the conceptual idea is to close the streets sometime between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. and reopen by 11 p.m. for no more than three days a week, likely to be Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Vehicle traffic would be blocked by vehicles placed at all access points and signs as appropriate on State Street and Fifth Street. Expanded outdoor dining areas are intended to allow Redlands restaurants to re-open safely, while ensuring adequate pedestrian access, and promoting public health and safety while simultaneously meeting physical distancing standards. Numerous cities in California are now allowing outdoor dining in areas that were usually reserved for public right-of-way or vehicle parking only, subject to the applicable health requirements.
C) Street Closure Authority
California Vehicle Code Section 21101 permits local authorities, such as the City, to adopt rules and regulations, by ordinance or resolution, relating to, among other things, “Temporarily closing a portion of any street for celebrations, parades, local special events, and other purposes when, in the opinion of local authorities having jurisdiction, or a public officer or employee that the local authority designated by resolution, the closing is necessary for the safety and protection of persons who are to use that portion of the street during the temporary closure.” (Vehicle Code sub-section 21101(e)).
Pursuant to the authorization granted to the City by the Vehicle Code, the City Council, in Redlands Municipal Code Section 12.12.150 titled “temporary street closures,” authorized the Redlands Chief of Police or the Redlands City Engineer to temporarily close portions of streets for local special events and other purposes to protect the safety of these persons who will use such closed portions of streets.
Collectively, the authority provided by the Vehicle Code, the Redlands Municipal Code, and this Resolution, if adopted, would authorize the City Manager, with the Chief of Police and City Engineer, to carry out the proposed temporary outdoor dining program with portions of City streets.
D) Outdoor Dining Downtown
The City's downtown includes a rich variety of restaurants, shops, and pedestrian areas. It also has been a significant source of revenue for the City, generating approximately $2.2 million in sales tax annually (prior to year 2020). Since Fiscal Year 2011-12, the City has invested significantly in the downtown to enhance the curb appeal of the area and create a pedestrian-friendly environment (including outdoor dining areas adjacent to restaurants, public art, outdoor lighting, and numerous other aesthetic improvements). Collectively, the improvements to pedestrian-friendly areas have included downtown destinations such as State Street, restaurants on Citrus Avenue, and the surrounding restaurants and businesses. Given the current economic conditions, this proposal could take advantage of these public realm improvements to assist boosting patronage to restaurants and retail businesses.
The areas under immediate consideration for outdoor dining include State Street between Orange and Sixth Streets (see Attachment B) and Fifth Street between Redlands Boulevard and Citrus Avenue (see Attachment C). Staff estimates that approximately 50 tables could be provided on both blocks of State Street, and approximately 34 tables on both blocks of Fifth Street, with four persons per table. Staff anticipates that restaurants will need to provide some type of temporary stanchions, ropes, or fencing to delineate their area. Food service could be similar to the indoor dine-in service experience, or possibly to-go self-service. Whatever the arrangement, the business must comply with cleaning protocols required by State and County guidelines.
E) General Requirements
To implement this proposal, City staff has created a list of General Requirements that would allow existing restaurants to expand their dining or use areas, while still complying with temporary State and County physical distancing requirements. This proposal is designed to minimize delay for businesses, and only requires a standard License Agreement for use of public right-of-way, as well as a copy of the business’s liability insurance naming the City as an additional insured. Staff would assist an applicant with completing a simple Site Plan (showing their area for outdoor dining), review the insurance certificate, and ensure all signatures are provided on the license agreement.
General Requirements for Outdoor Dining Areas:
Submittal Requirements: The following table summarizes the types of documents needed for approval of off-site outdoor dining areas in public right-of-way.
- Has in place a COVID-19 prevention plan consistent with the applicable State Industry Guide or other applicable State and County guidelines;
- Meets all applicable County rules (e.g., environmental health regulations and Health Officer Orders) and State laws (e.g., applicable State Industry Guide and alcohol beverage consumption laws), as verified by County Public Health or other responsible agency;
- Follows an outdoor dining or occupancy plan at the proposed location that meets all Fire Department standards, including number of occupants, points of egress, access to fire extinguishers, and tent and awning ratings, if applicable;
- Ensures fire hydrants shall remain unobstructed at all times;
- Maintains access required by the Americans with Disabilities Act at all times;
- Includes suitable demarcation of the boundary of the outdoor dining or use area, such as bollards/rope or temporary fencing not exceeding four (4) feet high, placed in safe manner around outdoor dining area;
- Clearly and physically separates the outdoor dining area from general pedestrian walkways;
- Does not include installation of any permanent structure or other items;
- Assures compliance by businesses with the City’s noise regulations in the Redlands Municipal Code (Chapter 8.06);
- Ensures that outdoor areas are maintained and free of trash and other debris;
- For food service establishments, provides that all tables and associated seating must be spaced at least six (6) feet apart from other tables and seating or, for other uses, maintains a physical separation of six feet between persons;
- Does not permit groups of ten (10) or more persons at one table;
- Provides that all lines for patrons for food orders or pick-up, as well as on-site restroom facilities, clearly demarcate a minimum distance of six (6) feet between patrons in line (such as placing labels or tape markings on the ground);
- Consistent with County Health Orders, requires all employees and patrons to wear face coverings, with the exception of patrons who are seated at tables provided and who are eating or drinking;
- Does not permit smoking in the expanded outdoor dining area; and,
- Provides maintenance standards for the outdoor dining area.
|Current City Business License
|Certificate of Insurance (naming City as additional insured)
|License Agreement (to use public right-of-way)
|Temporary Sales & Special Event Permit
License Agreement: The proposed Resolution will permit the City Manager to execute license (or other) agreements using the form approved by the City Attorney. This will enable quick review and approval for those businesses wishing to utilize State Street or Fifth Street as described above. The terms and conditions of the agreements will protect the City for third-party use of public right-of-way. The business would be able to immediately set-up and provide outdoor food service as soon as all completed documents are submitted.
F) Restaurants with Alcoholic Beverage Control Licenses
The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) recently published temporary regulations known as “Fourth Notice of Regulatory Relief,” which includes provisions for an Expansion of Licensed Footprint for those establishments that are currently licensed to serve alcoholic beverages. These temporary regulations respond to the circumstances of restaurants that want to provide outdoor dining and physical distancing in compliance with State and County guidelines, and also be able to comply with their existing ABC license (which typically includes operating conditions specifying that alcoholic beverages may only be served indoors, or similar service restrictions). For a business to receive temporary approval to serve alcohol outdoors, businesses would need to file a one-page application with ABC (Form 218: COVID-19 Temporary Catering Authorization Application), a Site Plan, and provide proof of legal authority to use the expanded or outdoor area. According to ABC regulations, the application may be denied (or authorization canceled) upon objection by the local law enforcement agency.
This Resolution would provide the City’s authorization for purposes of the ABC application, temporarily override any inconsistencies that may result with respect to any Conditional Use Permit conditions of approval (such as a defined alcohol service area indoors only), and facilitate the speedy processing of temporary catering authorization by ABC. If ABC approves such an application, then a business would not need any subsequent City approval or formal CUP amendment (a business would only be required to provide a copy of ABC’s approval to the City). After the current emergency ends and ABC’s temporary authorization expires, then the establishment’s operations would revert to its existing CUP conditions of approval if applicable.
Requirements for ABC Licensees: In addition to the General Requirements listed above, all businesses wishing to provide alcoholic beverages with food service shall meet all of the following City criteria:
1. Business has a current and valid Alcoholic Beverage Control license for the type of service the business intends to provide;
2. Prior to beginning alcohol service, the business shall submit an application to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for temporary catering authorization (ABC Form 218: COVID-19 Temporary Catering Authorization Application); and
3. Business shall be responsible for complying with and enforcing all related operating conditions applicable to their specific license type (such as outdoor area enclosure, signage, monitoring by employees, etc.).
If the City Council adopts the resolution, and if streets are to be closed, or requires by Vehicle Code section 21103, appropriate signage shall be posted by City staff in accordance with law, informing the public of such closure.
H) CEQA Compliance:
The adoption of this Resolution hereby delegates to the City Manager the authority to negotiate and enter into agreements with local businesses to conduct temporary outdoor dining. Accordingly, staff recommend that approval of the Resolution is exempt from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) pursuant to section 15061(b)(3) of the State’s Guidelines implementing CEQA. The grant of authority to the City Manager causes no physical change in the environment. Any required CEQA review associated with the street closures would be prepared at that time.