Alameda County Suspends Outdoor Dining Amid Rising Coronavirus Case Rates & Hospitalizations

2 mins read

Outdoor dining in Emeryville has been tabled again after the State has issued updated guidance prohibiting outdoor dining in “non-variance counties” which includes cities in Alameda County.

“While Alameda County’s Health Officer Order allowed for outdoor dining, under this stricter State guidance, all restaurants, wineries and bars in Alameda County may only be open for drive-through or pickup/delivery options,” the county stated in a press release posted today.

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The county had previously approved outdoor dining back on June 19th but put a pause on allowing indoor dining and the opening of bars and salons after a surge in cases. As of yesterday, Alameda County had more coronavirus cases than any other Bay Area county, with 7,485 people testing positive. The county has reported 147 deaths from the virus.

The City of Emeryville was working to fast-track permitting to allow expanded outdoor dining in hopes of benefitting local businesses. The Public Market had already reconfigured its dining hall and reopened for “Al Fresco” dining. Rudy’s Can’t Fail had jubilantly announced the reopening of their patio on June 24 and Trader Vic’s had just built an outdoor “tiki picnic patio” that it had just debuted on Friday.

“Our decision to permit outdoor dining was based on the Health Officer’s assessment that outdoor activities, with appropriate protective measures, carry less risk than indoor activities,” the county’s health department said Saturday.

New guidance issued Friday from the state, however, forced counties that have not received a variance from the state to ban activities like outdoor dining.

The City of Oakland issued a statement calling the sudden change “confusing” but that they would be temporarily suspending their flex streets program implemented to allow businesses without patios serve diners on city streets.

“As the largest city in the county, with the greatest number of small and low-income business owners and largest communities of color, the impacts of this confusion fall heavily on Oakland. We are in contact with the State and County to resolve this and provide clarity for our community,” they stated.

In response, some city officials have announced they will defy the order and proceed with plans for street closures aimed at creating more outdoor seating.

Some businesses including Eli’s Mile High Club in West Oakland pulled no punches on the “incompetence” of the county.

On Tuesday, the county’s board of supervisors will consider a letter of support for a variance from the state that would give the county flexibility to allow activities that health officials determine to be lower risk.

Updated state guidance for restaurants providing takeout, drive-through, and delivery is available on the dedicated state COVID-19 website.

Feature Image: Nick Sebastian, Worldwide Communications

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. Gotta leave it to Bay Area Democrats to screw up a good thing.

    They were ahead in the fight but now they are just looking as foolish as Trump.

    They can’t control the virus so they just shut it all down, except for the looting.

    Whatever credibility they gained is lost.

    Can’t wait until our taxes will be asked for to make up for their screw ups.

    • California’s 2020–21 $202 billion state budget spends about three times as much per state resident, adjusted for inflation, compared to California’s 1990–91 budget. And this is after $20 billion of COVID-19 related budget cuts.

      The state budget is increasingly being consumed by three broad categories: health and human services, education, and the state prison system. Those three now eat up more than 90 percent of the budget.

      The largest budget category is health and human services, which now takes up about a third of the budget and which has increased substantially since California took a deep dive into the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Medicaid spending has been the biggest cost factor here, rising one-third just between 2012 and 2016. More than fourteen million Californians – the equivalent of the fifth largest state in the country – are now enrolled in Medicaid. The same bureaucratic bozos who wasted over $1 billion in just six months in 2016 on ineligible beneficiaries are now deciding to open / close restaurants on a whim.

      The second largest budget component is K-12 education. Despite higher spending on K-12, California student learning outcomes have not improved and are among the worst in the country, particularly in the important area of mathematics, where less than 40 percent of high school students are proficient. Teachers who decide it is unsafe to return to work in the fall should not be paid.

      Lastly, a big percentage of the COVID cases in California are in the prisons and officials have made this worse by transferring prisoners in between different facilities. Perhaps if they had allowed outdoor dining the numbers wouldn’t be as high. I heard today California is going to release another 7,000 early so prepare for another wave of looting.

      The reason why California’s budget is so expensive and doesn’t deliver what it should? Because lawmakers (and Emeryville city councilors like Patz, Medina, Bauters) push their personal agendas on others.

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