Fresno gives $25,000 grants to businesses to provide outdoor dining

Local restaurants that would otherwise have to close because of COVID-19 restrictions are getting a lifeline thanks to the City of Fresno.
FRENO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local restaurants that would otherwise have to close because of COVID-19 restrictions are getting a lifeline thanks to the City of Fresno.

They're moving outdoors, turning parking spaces into patios, and this creative program will stay put even after the health restrictions pass.

Business for Washington Construction has been booming as people stuck at home improve their houses.

But for the first time, he's diving into a new design - parklets. They are little decks that convert street parking into outdoor seating.

One 8 x 32 parklet on Van Ness and Fresno Street will soon be a dining area for Kocky's Bar and Grill.

"We've never had a patio or any resemblance of it so this is a great opportunity to make money in these trying times," says co-owner Michael Smith.

Smith says the pandemic hit them hard.

After being forced to close their doors for three months, they reopened in June only to shut back down because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

In late July they were able to reopen again, only to face another setback.

"With downtown being shut down everyone started working from home so there was nobody to eat lunch," says Smith.

The Fresno State grad says because they were limited to takeout only, business dwindled to just 10% of what it was.

Now the city of Fresno is offering a lifeline.

"I have about 15 seats I'm going to be able to sit on this and that's 15 seats I wouldn't have," says Smith.

Kocky's is one of a handful of downtown businesses to receive a $25,000 grant from the City of Fresno's CARES Act funds.

The announcement of the pilot program came Friday with hopes to make these additions permanent fixtures in the city.

The Modernist, Fulton Street Coffee Roasters and Zack's Brewing Company will all boast enhanced outdoor dining to help them not only survive but thrive during the pandemic.

The move is already attracting new customers.

In total, $305,000 has been awarded to businesses to provide safe outdoor dining.
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