Supes renew ordinance easing restrictions on outdoor dining, sales

Dawn Hodson
Mountain Democrat

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — An ordinance to help restaurants and retailers stay open despite the COVID-19-related lockdown by allowing outdoor operations was renewed by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. It was due to expire April 1.

The ordinance was extended to Dec. 31 or until rescinded by the Board of Supervisors, whichever occurs first.

Last July the board approved an urgency ordinance and amendments to the zoning ordinance temporarily easing restrictions on outdoor dining and outdoor retail sales. The changes, along with the county’s Temporary Outdoor Dining and Retail Sales Program, were established to ensure restaurants and retailers were able to operate successfully during the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants and retail establishments with access to sidewalks or parking spots are allowed to use the outdoor space for dining activities in accordance with guidelines published by the California Department of Public Health.

The Temporary Outdoor Dining and Retail Sales Program includes social-distancing requirements and other site design standards and it temporarily eases provisions of a zoning ordinance pertaining to restrictions for off-street parking and temporary signage.

The urgency ordinance does not change the required off-street parking calculation for retail and/or restaurant uses but it does allow for up to 50% of required parking spaces to be converted to outdoor dining space or retail space. The 50% reduction in parking spaces was intended to offset the reduction of patrons allowed inside due to ongoing social distancing requirements.

The urgency ordinance also does not change the number, size or type of allowed temporary signs but it does allow for temporary signs to be used during the duration of the ordinance and is not subject to the time limits in the zoning ordinance of 90 cumulative days in a calendar year.

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