Alameda County Suspends Outdoor Dining Amid Rising Coronavirus Case Rates & Hospitalizations
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.
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.
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Today’s the day! Come by Trader Vic’s Emeryville between 3pm-8pm today for the official opening of our outdoor Tiki Picnic Patio! Order from a limited menu available at the patio bar, or place a take-out order and stay outside to dine after pick-up! Parking and tables are available on a first come basis for Trader Vic’s customers only.
“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.
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Great news! Rudy’s patio is now available for socially distant outdoor dining!! It’s been a long few months but we’re excited to welcome our friends back! Rudy’s outdoor dining and Togo/DoorDash delivery is currently available Mon-Sat 8a-2p #welcomeback #supportsmallbusiness #rudycantfail
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