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The new L.A. Al Fresco program lets restaurants add sidewalk and parking lot seating

L.A.’s new initiative will help restaurants add outdoor seating instantly.

Written by
Stephanie Breijo

Angelenos can now dine in at restaurants across L.A. County, but a new citywide initiative wants to get more to dine outside. In an address this evening, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the L.A. Al Fresco program, which will streamline the application and approval process for restaurants who want to install sidewalk and parking lot seating.

In conjunction with the L.A. County Department of Public Health, the temporary initiative is a move to help restaurants expand their seating capacity, which for the next three weeks must be capped at 60 percent, per the county’s new regulations.

By expanding their footprint to include sidewalks and other approved areas, restaurants can help guests maintain social distance, and potentially recoup a loss of revenue until dine-in service can resume regularly. As of now the program only applies to L.A. City restaurants, though similar initiatives are already underway in Long Beach. 

L.A. Al Fresco promises immediate approval for eligible restaurants, and it’s free to apply. Once granted, the allowance will last a full 90 days—after which point restaurants can reapply to extend, and keep the outdoor party going.

In addition to private parking lots and sidewalks, the city is also debating a later approval of seating in street parking spaces, as well as partial street closures and full street closures to accommodate diners.

You can apply for the L.A. Al Fresco initiative here.

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