Fresno city leaders aiming to help restaurants stay open during shutdown order

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Governor's decision to shut down restaurants again has forced owners to come up with new ways to stay in business.

A number of places are now offering outdoor dining, while Fresno City leaders have launched a pilot program to help soften the financial blow brought on by the pandemic.

"For us, it really wasn't an option to close again. As you can see, we've been really lucky to have this covered area, so we moved our dining room outside and we're still socially distant and we're able to keep our staff employed," said Symone Tellawi, the owner of Fresno Breakfast House.

The owners of Fresno Breakfast House used existing planters as barriers under the overhang in front of their restaurant to expand outdoor seating.

Families can now enjoy meals near the water fountain while staying cool under fans.

The changes have allowed the restaurant to start making money again and hire back most of its 35 employees.

"Overall, it has been a little slower. Obviously we haven't been able to do the banquets and things like that, but our day to day business, we are happy with the turnout. The customers love it and I've had a few of my regulars tell me this is the nicest patio that they've been to," said Tellawi.

But not every restaurant is lucky enough to have ample space for outdoor seating.

That's why the City of Fresno is launching a parklet pilot program to help provide additional space.

A parklet is an outdoor patio area created in the street in front of establishments.

"They can add additional seating right here in front of them in the public right away," said Fresno Councilmember Esmeralda Soria.

Businesses in places like Carmel have seen much success after parklets were recently installed there.

Fresno city leaders hope to see similar results and plan to have more of these parklets up and running across the city by the end of August.
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