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July 10, 2020

Restaurants, shops can operate outdoors with city approval

WATSONVILLE—Restaurants and retail stores in city limits can now operate outdoors thanks to an emergency order signed by City Manager Matt Huffaker on Friday.

Businesses looking to take advantage of the alfresco option would need to receive approval of a Temporary Covid-19 Encroachment Agreement from the city’s Community Development Department to do so. 

There is no fee to apply for the agreement.

The agreement, found here, can be submitted to CDD via email at [email protected]. For information call 768-3050.

Applicants must also meet a short list of guidelines to qualify for the permit. That includes having the necessary approvals from other departments such as the County Health Service Agency, Environmental Health Services, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and California Department of Transportation.

Businesses are allowed to use up 35% of their on-site parking for outdoor dining or shopping, but that limit can be increased to 65% with an additional review from CDD.

Use of the city’s public right-of-way, including public sidewalks and off-site parking fronting the property, must be approved by the Department of Public Works and Utilities. An encroachment permit may be required.

Contact Chris Gregorio at 768-3071 or [email protected] for information.

Any use of the state right of way (SR 152 or SR 129), including sidewalks, would require an encroachment permit from the state, which can be found here.

The city joins other local jurisdictions in the decision that could help local businesses rebound from the shelter-in-place restrictions put in place to slow Covid-19

Santa Cruz County recently received state approval to allow its restaurants to offer dine-in service but that OK came with restrictions on the number of customers allowed inside the business.

The City of Santa Cruz announced that starting Monday it would close the 1100 block of Pacific Avenue between Lincoln and Cathcart streets to vehicles and bicycles to allow for outdoor dining, a pedestrian promenade and limited retail operations.

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on June 2 approved a plan to allow restaurants and businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county to use their parking lots for outdoor eating and shopping areas. They can also apply to use public right-of-way areas such as sidewalks.

The Capitola City Council on May 28 voted unanimously to allow outdoor dining throughout city limits. 

Capitola has closed the parking area along The Esplanade and replaced it with seating for patrons. The council also green-lighted a proposal for restaurants to offer takeout windows.

Pajaronian reporter Todd Guild contributed to this report.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.


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