BURBANK (CBSLA) – The city of Burbank Wednesday announced it was closing off a downtown stretch of one of its busiest streets in order to give restaurants more space to expand their outdoor dining amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Beginning at 10 p.m. Thursday, portions of San Fernando Boulevard will be closed to traffic between Magnolia Boulevard and Angeleno Avenue so restaurants can expand their outdoor seating areas into the street.
San Fernando Boulevard will closed from:
- Angeleno to Olive avenues.
- Olive to Orange Grove avenues.
- Orange Grove Avenue to Magnolia Boulevard.
"We have a lot of customers, thank God they support us, they're buying online, this and that, but it's not the same," said Victor Safar, owner of the Great Grill Restaurant.
Some of Safar's neighboring restaurants have switched to takeout only, and others have shut down completely. He hopes that this new allowance will help some of them reopen and make customers feel more comfortable coming back.
"I want to say to the customer, 'try it, see how it is.' And I hope when we put the tables, it's gonna be more like six feet, feet, we don't need them next to people, and yeah, I think it's a good idea," Safar said.
The closure was issued under an emergency order from the city manager, but must be confirmed by the city council. It will run through at least Sept. 7.
"We have received many requests from the residents and businesses to close San Fernando, we also surveyed our businesses in Downtown and almost all of them were in favor of closing down the street," said Burbank City Manager Justin Hess in a statement. "This will allow people more room for social distancing, outdoor dining and to walk more freely within the increased space."
On Tuesday, the city council passed an ordinance allowing restaurants to expand outdoor dining onto private parking lots and sidewalks. Restaurants must still obtain a permit in order to do so, the city said.
Several other Southland cities have taken similar measures. Last week, the city of Pasadena closed portions of Colorado Boulevard.
The city of Long Beach last month launched the Open Streets Initiative, closing several roads to cars during specific hours, but keeping them open for walking and biking.
Five blocks of historic Downtown Ventura were also closed to cars beginning in mid-June.
On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered indoor operations statewide for all restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums, cardrooms and other indoor entertainment venues to shut down.
For 30 counties that were on a state watch list due to their alarming coronavirus case numbers, the shutdowns were more severe. Those counties -- which account for about 80% of California's population and include the entire Southland region -- were ordered to close hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms, shopping malls and houses of worship.
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