Restaurants in Pleasanton are having to scrap the outdoor dining parklets that they have relied on heavily during the pandemic.
The city ordered businesses to take them down for now even as a new surge has people reconsidering going inside restaurants to eat.
Maurice Dissels was heartbroken to see his $10,000 outdoor dining space torn down. He said he tried to convince the city to keep it open and modify it.
"Unfortunately, that didn’t happen," he said. "I want to comply, and we're going to take it down. But the only reason that I'm taking it down is because the city has assured me, they've promised me that come March 1, they’re going to have site plans to deliver to me."
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Dissels said the city wants a uniform look for the parklets and plans to clean up the streets and trim the trees before allowing them back.
Customers said they loved Oyo's parklet but admitted some did look a bit "dumpy."
Many business owners said they were hoping the city will change its mind because of the new surge in cases and the need for more outdoor dining space.
“We waited until the last day to take it down because we couldn’t bring ourselves to take it down,” said Dissels. “60% of our guests don’t want to eat inside. One of the first things they ask is 'how much outdoor seating do you have?'"
City leaders said they had discussing what to do with the parklets because they want a uniform look for the outdoor seating that has become a business saver during the pandemic.
Councilmember Julie Testa was the only person voting against removing them.
“This last Tuesday, I just said, 'with what we’ve seen with what we know is happening now with the biggest spike ever it’s just bad timing,'” she said.
Bad timing because of the recent omicron surge , which is why some customers are unhappy to see the parklets go.
“I thought it was great. Now, they’re not here and the restaurants are half capacity, that barely made it through COVID-19,” Katie Lemoine said.