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Pre-Application for Use of the Plaza Available for Sonoma Businesses Whose Operations are Limited Due to Physical Distancing

Posted on June 15, 2020


The City of Sonoma, in partnership with our local business organizations, is in the process of adopting new policies and procedures aimed at quickly assisting local businesses with adapting to the challenges created by physical (“social”) distancing requirements as we re-emerge from the most stringent phase of the COVID-19 “shutdown”.

At their meeting on Monday, May 18, 2020, the City Council voted to ratify the recommendations made by the City Council appointed Economic Reopening and Recovery Ad Hoc Subcommittee, which was led by Mayor Logan Harvey and Vice Mayor Rachel Hundley in concert with the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau and the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance. The City Council adopted a series of strategies aimed at assisting businesses to meet re-opening challenges, including but not limited to the use of surrounding/adjoining areas to existing square footage by expanding into nearby public and private spaces. Previously the City published a Pre-Application for use of sidewalks, alleyways, parking lots, etc. that can be found on the Coronavirus Business Resources page.

The City Council also authorized the use of the Sonoma Plaza Park area to supplement internal square footage. Use of the Plaza area is available to Sonoma businesses whose operations are limited due to physical distancing requirements. The use of the park will be limited to 11 am –9 pm, Thursday through Sunday. As this is a public park, the operator will be required to assume full responsibility for the cleanliness (including COVID-19 preventing disinfecting), garbage collection, safety, security and overall community impact of the space assigned to you. In addition, you will need to make your business’ restrooms available to your customers. Use of the space will require working with Plaza grounds/maintenance staff, City staff, public safety officers, etc. to ensure that we minimize impacts on the park and public’s ability to enjoy the historic community asset and its amenities. Each business will need to sign a City of Sonoma Licensing Agreement for use of the public space which has a variety of legal requirements. In addition, businesses serving alcohol will need to complete an ABC form ABC218.CV19 to ensure compliance with state liquor laws, a Sonoma County Health Services COVID 19 Food Facility Operating Checklist, and provide an Additional Insured Certificate from your insurer indemnifying the City of Sonoma.

You will be assigned an area of up 3-4000 square feet, enough to hold approximately eight four-top tables or six larger tables (you can choose your table size, so long as no more than 10 guests are seated together, per County rules) with a spacing of 8-10’ between tables. If you do not need that full amount, please indicate that so that we can preserve as much public gathering space as possible. Use of the Plaza is for the sole purpose of providing extra dining space; entertainment, music, etc. is prohibited.

We will work to ensure the area assigned to you is as close to your business as possible while addressing the need for maintaining contiguous public gather spaces and ensuring that each operator’s space is adjacent to a pathway that will allow for the required ADA seating accommodation. On Sundays after service, you will be required to remove the tables and chairs so that the grounds crew can conduct routine maintenance and to allow the grass to recover.

Download the pre-application form that will guide and assist City staff to review your needs/requests and then to determine the appropriate mechanism to quickly approve your request. There is no fee or cost for the City to review your proposed plans for expansion (as approved by the City Council) and staff hopes to be able to issue a permit to you within a few days to a week of a completed application. In addition to the information requested, attaching (or be prepared to provide) the following will be useful in expediting your request:

  • Photo or explanation of all furniture you plan to use;
  • Narrative of how you will manage service, security, garbage removal and plans for operation;
  • Hours & days of operation

For questions on this program, please contact:

Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce – info@sonomachamber.org / 707.996-1033

City of Sonoma – Lisa Janson, ljanson@sonomacity.org / 707.938.3681

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