San Jose's Al Fresco dining program, which has allowed restaurants and small businesses to operate outside during COVID-19 restrictions, will be extended until the end of the year.
On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved extending the program, which allowed more than 130 businesses that don't have infrastructure or capacity for outdoor operations to use public, city-owned spaces like parking lots, city streets and parks for free.
The program, established May 2020, was a way for businesses to continue operations and comply with COVID-19 health orders that prohibited or limited indoor gatherings.
"This is a way of pushing commerce outside. It is a good thing in many ways, and we should continue to accommodate (it) in any way we can," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said.
The program is still essential for participating businesses too, even as Santa Clara County moves into the less-restrictive orange tier.
Under the orange tier, indoor dining at restaurants is limited to 50 percent capacity, so outdoor dining is a way for businesses to recoup some losses.
The city is still accepting and encouraging businesses to participate in the Al Fresco program.
To sign up or learn more, visit San Jose's Economic Development website.