The city of Livermore will be closing parts of First Street and K Street to vehicular traffic this weekend to expand the outdoor dining area in downtown.
Specifically, First Street will be closed from L to J Street as well as from McLeod to Maple. Following that, K Street will close between First and Second Street. The eastbound lane of First Street will also be closed between Livermore Avenue and McLeod.
“We really feel that this weekend’s closure is going to be the hybrid closure," said Rachael Snedecor, the executive director of Livermore Downtown Inc.. "Block by block it’s taken into consideration: what is the business's type that’s there, what are their individual needs, and how do we make this work for the majority.”
She added that by closing these streets, it will allow businesses to use parking areas nearby restaurants for outdoor seating.
Livermore city officials stated on July 1 that some businesses were negatively impacted by previous weekend street closures -- citing significantly reduced sales. According to Snedecor, some businesses were down 70% during the initial closing trial.
Originally, the city closed portions of First Street in late June to create space for social distancing. Since then, downtown Livermore has testing different ways to adjust to social distancing while trying to keep businesses alive.
Different businesses have different requests during the COVID-19 crisis, according to Snedecor. Some businesses wanted a closed street while others were concerned about back access for customers during the first trial. Snedecor said because Livermore has a mixed downtown with significant retail and quick-stop restaurants, there had to be a strategic layout to provide seating for restaurants while following health guidelines.
"We’re trying to keep the restaurants healthy or at least surviving through this COVID shelter-in-place," she said.
To adhere to Alameda County’s health and safety guidelines, face coverings will remain mandatory for patrons, with the exception of being seated at a restaurant. This was implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Alameda County’s reopening plan paused as is on June 29 and remains so until further notice. According to the Alameda County Public Health Department indoor dining, salons and barber shops, pro sports, and pools are the next to open when a new date is posted.
As retail and outdoor dining begin to reopen in the Tri-Valley, businesses must still follow The Alameda County Department of Environmental Health guidelines. For outdoor dining, some guidelines state:
* Tables and chairs must be six feet apart, if unmovable a barrier or partition at least six feet in height must be placed.
* A restaurant must have an applicable permit obtained from their city or county prior to setting up outdoor dining.
* Tape or marking must be placed to illustrate a six feet apart separation in any area where the public may form a line.
* Tables will be limited to no more than six people.
* Patrons must wear face coverings until seated at their table. Masks must be on when individuals leave a table or use the restroom.
* Any new outdoor seating that is implemented to increase social distancing must be approved by local jurisdiction.
* Employees will wash their hands after bussing tables and in between serving food and other tasks.
* Face coverings must be worn by all staff when interacting with the public or other employees.
"This is going to be the possible new norm," Snedecor said. "We gotta definitely test things, learn things, and make sure we come out of this strong and more provocative and prepared in the future."