SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sidewalk dining and drinking could be here to stay. Under a new bill, the expansion of alcohol service into streets and parklets could become permanent, if cities choose to allow it.
The bill, SB314, has passed the Senate and would allow drinking on city streets across the state and make it a permanent fixture. But it will be up to cities and counties to decide where.READ MORE: California COVID-19 Vaccine Lottery $1.5 Million Winners To Be Selected On Tuesday
Diners drinking on the R Street Corridor say they’re happy to be indulging outdoors.
“It’s good to see it come back to life because the past year has been dead as a doornail. It’s been a ghost town,” said a man named Humberto.
Part of R Street is closed off to traffic and currently allows more restaurants even more space to serve outside.
The California Bar and Restaurant Recovery Act, sponsored by Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco), would make that permanent.
It would also make it easier for restaurants to get liquor licenses and sell alcohol in a shared space: On sidewalks, and in parking lots.
If the bill passes, it could be a sign that al fresco dining may stick around, too.READ MORE: Fourth Stimulus Check: Will You Get Another Relief Payment?
That will ultimately be up to each city to decide where, and by how much they’ll cut off street access and parking.
But some say they just miss the accessibility.
“There’s usually handicap parking, and now we have to go park far away and pay up to a dollar for twenty minutes,” said one diner.
Some critics of the bill complain that making it easier to drink in public could lead to public safety and a nuisance for neighbors.
But Daniel Martin, assistant general manager of R15, says serving alcohol outside helped his business, and he hopes this dining experience sticks around.
“This is already a popular neighborhood already,” he said. why not make it bigger and capitalize on that?”
The bill passed the Senate but still needs approval through the Assembly and then to the Governor for his signature, which could take a few weeks.MORE NEWS: What You Need To Know About California's Reopening
The city will still need to approve the al fresco dining and decide on those regulations through the end of the year.