Valley restaurants, bars excited to keep patios open, offer to-go cocktails after June 15

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Take-out cocktails, parklets, and makeshift patios helped restaurants and bars stay afloat amid COVID-19 constraints.

Now as California prepares to fully reopen this month, state officials are hoping continuing to allow those pandemic practices will help businesses recover from over a year of COVID restrictions in California.

RELATED: California will allow to-go cocktails, outdoor dining expansions to stay after June 15, Newsom says

At Colton's Social House in Clovis, their parking lot patio has become a staple of their business.

"To hear that some of the things that have actually been really beneficial to us during these times (will carry on) is really exciting," says owner Brittany Collins Dean.

The outdoor area can seat over 300 people and has allowed the restaurant to double its capacity.

It's complete with cabanas, swamp coolers, a bar, and dozens of tables - a first-choice dining option for some guests.

Colton's spent about a quarter-million to create the outdoor ambiance, an investment that owners are grateful will continue to pay off.

40 new employees have been brought on to help with the influx.

"The revenue alone that we have been able to bring on, the jobs that we have been able to create with this extra space, the longer it can last the better it is for us, the better it is for our staff," says Dean.

In downtown Fresno, continuing to offer drinks to-go will help one of the city's newest bars, Quail State, serve up drinks to those not ready to dine and drink in an intimate space just yet.

"It helps to showcase the bar, the restaurant's work and what they have to offer and so we love being able to extend that to people who still are not super comfortable coming in yet," says Assistant Manager Kristen Katchadourian.

Down the street, the parklet patio at Modernist has become a popular downtown destination that will be sticking around.

The seating doubles the capacity as the bar braces for what's to come after restrictions are lifted.

Officials from the city of Fresno tell us they plan to continue allowing parklets in public spaces and are even open to expanding in the future.

Meantime, the City of Clovis has already approved outdoor dining in public spaces through October.

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