As per the latest San Mateo County Health Officer Order, as of last Saturday restaurants in the county are now allowed to offer outside dining to patrons. There are still a number of restrictions, which include, among other things:
- No more than six individuals at a single table, all of whom must be from the same household or living unit
- Tables must be arranged to ensure six feet distance between each table and six feet between any two customers sitting at different tables
- Patrons are required to wear a face covering except when sitting at a dining table
- Lounge areas, like fire pits, can be occupied by multiple households or living units, as long as six-foot distancing between households can be maintained
- If dogs are allowed by the restaurant, the dog must be on a leash and at least six feet from customers who are not members of the same household
Entertainment events are not allowed, and bar areas must remain closed to customers. In addition, every restaurant with outdoor dining must also offer curbside pickup, takeaway, and/or delivery service alternatives, with lines for for pickup in a separate area than the outdoor dining area. There are also a number of other regulations around sanitation, food prep and maintenance, and employee requirements.
In conjunction with the County loosening of restrictions, the San Carlos City Council voted last night to reconfigure parts of Laurel Street to permit restaurants and other businesses to expand into the parking spaces on the street and thus allow more room for outdoor dining. The change will take place this Saturday, June 13, and these changes will be be in effect through the remainder of this calendar year. The 600 and 700 blocks of Laurel Street will be closed to cars except for delivery vehicles between 6am-9am, and on parts of the 800 and 900 blocks of Laurel Street and the 1100 block of San Carlos Avenue, barriers would be placed between the lanes of traffic and the parking spaces to allow retail businesses to expand into those parking spaces. Restaurants will have to provide the tables, chairs, and inevitable heating elements required especially for evening dining.
Editor’s note: The City of Good Eating makes no recommendation on whether it is advisable for people to take advantage of these new outdoor seating options. The COVID-19 epidemic continues to remain a significant issue, and as of this writing, cases continue to rise both in our county and nationwide. Everyone will have to use their best judgement and comfort level to decide if they want to patronize the outdoor dining options. I suspect that the members of our household will still be waiting some time before we dine out, but we will continue to order takeout and delivery to support our local restaurants.
Based on a quick jaunt down Laurel Street, it appears that the following restaurants are already allowing, or will be soon be allowing, outdoor dining:
- Blue Line Pizza
- Rangoon Ruby
- Taurus Steakhouse
- Nick the Greek
- Blind Tasting
- Crepe Stop
- 888 Italiano
- Broiler Express
We will update this list as we receive additional information. It will certainly be interesting to see how this experiments goes with respect to the logistics, the comfort of both diners and restaurants, and the overall effect on Laurel Street.