Rather than approve a staff proposal to terminate the Laurel Street outdoor dining program on June 15, when Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to lift most statewide COVID-19 restrictions, San Carlos City Council on Monday called upon the city to study whether it should become a permanent fixture.
The temporary outdoor parklet program launched in summer 2020 in order to provide an economic boost for businesses impacted by indoor restrictions. The program was scheduled to continue until at least Sept. 1, but a few recent complaints that it has been drawing large crowds along with COVID rule-breakers led to a proposal to end the program all together on June 15.
The City Council rejected that proposal and decided Monday to continue the program until at least Sept. 1 as previously scheduled, citing its popularity among residents and its desire to help small restaurants recover from the impacts COVID has had on their businesses. Instead, Council directed city staff and a subcommittee to look to address concerns raised about compliance with COVID restrictions and other problems raised around litter and other nuisance behavior. The majority of the Council also expressed the desire to move beyond the parklet program and start to plan for a permanent closure of Laurel in the blocks where the parklets currently exist and to re-envision Laurel and downtown for the future.