Late last night, (Friday, July 10), Alameda County issued a press release regarding updated State-issued guidance, dated July 9, stating that outdoor dining is prohibited in non-variance counties, which includes Alameda County. While Alameda County’s Health Officer Order had allowed for outdoor dining, the press release states that under this stricter State guidance, all restaurants, wineries, and bars in Alameda County may only be open for drive-through or pick-up/delivery options. Updated state guidance for restaurants providing takeout, drive-through, and delivery is available here: https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-takeout-restaurants.pdf
In the midst of the changing regulatory environment, the City of Oakland has consistently relied on public health guidance provided by Alameda County. This latest information from the County is confusing and contradicts the previous Alameda County Health Officer Order allowing outdoor dining, and we share your frustration.
As the largest city in the county, with the greatest number of small and low-income business owners and largest communities of color, the impacts of this confusion fall heavily on Oakland. We are in contact with the State and County to resolve this and provide clarity for our community.
The State has chosen to issue orders to shut down businesses in other counties and may choose to do so for Alameda County. While the City’s enforcement has not changed, the State may enforce the ban on outdoor dining in Alameda County, including issuing citations. We share this information so business owners may make informed decisions on their daily operations.
Given this lack of clarity regarding outdoor dining, we are temporarily putting Oakland’s Flex Streets for restaurant operations on hold until further clarification is received from the County and State (expected a few days after the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday, July 14). Retail operations are not affected by the County’s Friday announcement, and retailers may continue to apply for use of public right-of-way for outdoor operations.
Despite this confusion in regulatory guidance, with hospitalizations on the rise in Alameda County, we remain focused on our primary goal, which is ensuring that we re-open in a manner that is safe and sustainable for businesses, their employees, and our community as a whole.
If you have further questions about the County’s guidelines on reopening, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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