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By Mike Hazlip–
Citrus Heights eateries are literally thinking outside the box to keep their cash flow, pay employees, and serve customers during the governor’s latest shutdown order that prohibits restaurants from offering indoor dining.
R Vida Cantina co-owner Kevin Miles told The Sentinel in an interview Friday that construction of a new cantina and outside patio was completed the day before Governor Newsom announced new closure orders on Wednesday.
“It was kind of a huge shock to us,” said Miles. “We actually just finished our cantina side of the restaurant.”
The restaurant quickly adapted by adding more seating outdoors, including several tents in the parking lot. “No Dine-In, NO PROBLEMO!” the restaurant posted on its Facebook page, commenting about plenty of outdoor seating being available.
Rocky’s 7440 Club on Auburn Boulevard also remains open through use of an outdoor patio and a partnership with a neighboring restaurant, Sam’s Classic Burgers. An announcement on social media said the club is offering the next door restaurant’s full menu and is requiring food to be purchased with any alcoholic drinks.
The announcement also said customers must use the backyard entrance, as the indoor bar area remains closed, including the dance floor, pool tables, and karaoke.
Pho ABC on Greenback Lane has also taken advantage of the city’s recent decision to temporarily allow outdoor dining in parking lots without a permit. The Vietnamese restaurant on Greenback Lane has eight tables, umbrellas and a misting fan taking up a portion of their front parking spaces.
Manager Alvin Nguyen told The Sentinel in an interview Friday that he created the outdoor dining area after learning of the city’s recent decision to relax regulations.
“I would definitely recommend every single restaurant take advantage of that opportunity to use common spaces to provide outdoor dining,” Nguyen said.
Several blocks away from Pho ABC is Texas Roadhouse, where the casual dining establishment has set up a large tent to provide outdoor dining in its parking area.
The Citrus Heights City Council passed a resolution on June 25 allowing local restaurants to temporarily use up to 50% of their allocated parking spaces for outdoor dining, as part of a pandemic relief effort.
Under the guidelines of the program, restaurants creating outdoor spaces have to close by 10 p.m. on weeknights, and 11 p.m. Friday through Saturday.
Alcoholic beverages are allowed in the extended spaces, provided regulations from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board requiring a physical barrier are met.
Local restaurants are allowed to use tents and umbrellas that are weighted down and do not obstruct public right-of-way. Tents must be less than 400 square feet, according to program guidelines.
The program is slated to run through Dec. 31, 2020. Restaurants wanting to continue outdoor dining will then need the usual required permits.
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