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City Expands “Sonoma Al Fresco” Temporary Facility Expansion Program with Partial Street Closure, Parklets and Plaza Use

Posted on July 27, 2020


Sonoma Al Fresco
Partial 1st St E Road Closure.
1st St E is Now Closed to Through Traffic.

Last week, part of First St E between E Napa St & Patten was closed to through traffic to accommodate expanded outdoor seating for Pangloss Cellars. The partial street closure is part of the City’s “Sonoma Al Fresco” program, created to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Sonoma businesses while providing safe areas for pedestrians.  The program assists businesses in temporarily adding or expanding their outside service options to accommodate COVID-19 related health standards.

public works staff fill up water barriers
Public Works Staff Fills Up Water Barriers on East Spain Street

Sonoma Al Fresco includes a variety of facility expansion options that consider the safety of patrons and pedestrians alike. In addition to the partial closure of First Street East, several downtown businesses have received City approval to set up tables and provide food and beverage service in areas on public sidewalks, public and private parking spaces and on the Sonoma Plaza.

The public has provided valuable input regarding the need to maintain room for people to safely walk past expanded facilities and the City has responded by clarifying distancing requirements and by acquiring protective equipment including water wall barriers (available on a limited basis) to ensure patrons can enjoy Sonoma’s al fresco options while maintaining a safe space for pedestrians.

Restaurant Zone - Masks Required
Signage for Expanded Facilities Coming Soon!

All are required to wear facial coverings in these areas, regardless of perceived distance. Patrons must wear face coverings any time they are not eating or drinking and pedestrians must wear face coverings when walking past or through. Thank you for keeping Sonoma Safe!

HOW TO APPLY: Businesses that are interested in expanding their facility should submit a Sonoma Al Fresco Pre-Application. Once the application is reviewed by the City of Sonoma’s Planning Department, a virtual meeting with the applicant will be scheduled to discuss the conditions that must be met in order to proceed.

All new or expanded outdoor dining facilities must comply with applicable Sonoma County Public Health, Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC), and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requirements and regulations.

BACKGROUND: On Monday, May 18, 2020, Sonoma City Council adopted a resolution authorizing the City Manager to create and implement new re-opening and recovery measures through the issuance of Temporary Use Permits, Encroachment Permits, and/or Licensing Procedures to allow the City’s businesses to expand their operating space utilizing public sidewalks, the Plaza, Grinstead amphitheater, public rights-of-way (including parking areas and roadways), their own property or neighboring properties with neighbor agreement, while respecting social distancing requirements. The City Manager and delegated staff are authorized to waive fees associated with these action as described in City fee schedules for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. This action was done to provide additional outdoor space for business operation and physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For questions regarding the Temporary Facility Expansion and new Permits, please email planning@sonomacity.org or call (707) 938-3681. For more business resources, please visit the Coronavirus Business Resources Page.

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