Patrons enjoy beverages before dinner last month on First Street in Little Tokyo, benefitting from the citywide Al Fresco program. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

The Los Angeles City Council’s Transportation Committee on Oct. 19 approved Councilmember David Ryu’s motion seeking to implement a permanent version of the city’s Al Fresco program, sending it to full council for a vote.

The Al Fresco Program, which has received positive feedback from restaurants, diners and restaurant adjacent neighborhoods, supports the heavily impacted restaurant industry by allowing restaurants to operate outdoors. The motion approved in committee seeks a report back on the feasibility of making this program permanent.

“With around 2,000 restaurants currently participating in Al Fresco, its popularity is undeniable,” said Ryu. “Los Angeles has an opportunity to reimagine the ways that we use our city streets and support our local businesses. Now is the time to think about how we want our city to emerge from this pandemic, and this is one way we can emerge better than before.”

Ryu’s motion instructs city departments to report back on a potential program structure, and any safety and infrastructure requirements necessary for implementation. LA Al Fresco was launched by Mayor Eric Garcetti on May 29, and streamlines requirements and approvals across multiple city departments for outdoor dining on sidewalks, parking lots, and streets.

In its most recent phase, LA Al Fresco dedicates 55 percent of program resources to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) businesses or located in areas that have experienced disproportionate job loss due to COVID-19. Eligible applicants can receive immediate approval for sidewalks and private property.

Read the motion here.

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