The closure of Pleasanton's Main Street on weekends, which was introduced last summer and fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is returning in 2021 to give downtown restaurants and shops more space to expand operations outdoors.
A concept developed by the Pleasanton Downtown Association and approved by the city government, the "Weekend on Main" program is scheduled to begin next weekend (April 30 to May 2) and run each Friday afternoon through Sunday evening until Labor Day.
Terri Terry, president of the PDA Board of Directors, told the Weekly the association is excited at the chance to build upon the success of last year's program and hopes "that Weekend on Main becomes the new 'norm' for years to come."
"The Pleasanton community embraced Weekend on Main last year with open arms. The Main Street closure brought not only the downtown businesses together but the community as a whole during a time of need," Terry said.
"Doing something out of the norm can be difficult to orchestrate and take years to accomplish. I commend our city and county officials for making this achievement last year in a very short time," Terry added. "This year, we are growing the Event with more music and street vendors that will be fun for the whole family."
Pleasanton City Manager Nelson Fialho told the Weekly, "Just as it did last year, the Weekend on Main provides businesses in the downtown corridor to expand their outdoor service capacity while indoor service remains limited due to the pandemic. The extra service space allows the community to safely enjoy and support local Pleasanton businesses."
"Additionally, we continue to require businesses and patrons to practice COVID-19 safety protocols by wearing a mask and social distancing while visiting the downtown and other public places throughout the community," he added.
This year's program is expected to look similar to the 2020 version, which began on June 19 when outdoor dining was allowed to resume in Alameda County and continued through Nov. 1.
Many restaurants, and some retail shops, expanded their business operations on weekends into the street parking stalls and driving lanes, with a path left down the center of Main Street for pedestrians and bicyclists -- and emergency services, if needed.
A number of restaurants continue to have outdoor dining canopies in parking spots on Main Street, though the roadway and sidewalks have remained clear seven days a week since November.
Beginning around 3 p.m. on Fridays, city crews will start closing Main Street to vehicular traffic through about 9 p.m. Sundays, with businesses allowed to operate in the roadway from 5 p.m. Fridays and 8 p.m. Sundays. The closure will extend into holiday Mondays for Memorial Day and Labor Day -- the latter of which will be the final day of the program under the current schedule.
Business and patrons will be required to follow all safety protocols put in place by the county and state, according to the PDA. Face coverings must be worn at all times except when seated for dining and. a 6-foot distance must be maintained between patron groups.
"Please remember that you are also required to abide by all rules and regulations implemented by businesses prior to entering their establishments. Our downtown businesses have been working hard to implement best practices that will keep you and their employees safe throughout your shopping and dining experience," PDA officials said.