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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Good idea to temporarily close Main Street to expand businesses

Uploaded: May 21, 2020
Pleasanton Chamber CEO Steve Van Dorn floated an interesting idea this week—temporarily closing Main Street to allow stores and restaurants to expand sidewalk businesses to the street.
Judging by the comments on the Weekly website, the idea is popular and may gain traction. It’s the type of jump start that the restaurant industry, in particular, can use. Restaurants have been limited to delivery and takeout since Gavin Newsom issued the shelter-in-place order March 17.
Given that indoor dining may still be in the future and capacity will be significantly limited, the outdoor option would expand seating while maintaining the social distancing.
Gov. Newsom last week released a series of requirements for restaurants that included sanitized or disposable menus (or digital), no preset tables, no common condiments (salt and pepper shakers, etc.), people pack their own to-go containers and everyone is wearing a mask. Temperature checks for staff and consistent and routine sanitizing as well as appropriate distancing between tables.
A report in the San Francisco Business Times focused on impacts on restaurants contained several recommendations, but figuring out how to balance capacity vs. rent with the restauranteur and the landlord will be a key issue.
Another key question is when and how willing people will be to out and mix in public. The virus has ravaged nursing homes and health authorities are almost uniform with the recommendation (in contrast to many disagreements on other points) that people aged 65 and older and particularly those with underlying conditions should stay home as much as possible.
I experienced first-hand how different it will be last week when a few of us—all church members—gathered to visit a dear friend in the Creekview Assisted Living facility. We talked to her on the phone and through an open window while wearing masks and observing the appropriate distancing.
It was striking for me to stand next to a dear friend, who I routinely hug at church and have for decades, and not touch her. The same with others I’d hug or exchange warm handshakes. As one in the higher risk group, I’m living in faith not fear, but paying attention to where I go and with who.
The restaurant closings locally started earlier this month with a broken business model. Such is the case for Sweet Tomatoes which will be closed permanently in Hacienda Business Park. Garden Fresh Restaurants, based in San Diego, announced it was closing all 97 of its restaurants because the self-serve salad and soup bar will not be allowed under new requirements from the Food and Drug Administration. That’s likely the case for any restaurant using a buffet at the center of its business model.
The same will be true for many hotels that offer self-serve breakfast buffets.
One alternative I read about in another report indicated that the buffet may continue behind glass with the client saying what they want and how much and a staff member plating the food and then serving it.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Rich Buckley, a resident of Livermore,
on May 21, 2020 at 11:39 am

It's quick and easy to survey the businesses along this short section of First Street. The city has even independently considered routing Just Going-Through traffic off first in several iterations but not one that includes closing off First Street temporarily. The buildings we own have Restaurants and non-restaurants as tenants. All businesses matter. The most likely concerns will be, okay, close it off, but where will my customers park? To which the city can help by addressing each tenant individually, assessing both the benefit and damages likely to be created and being very open and transparent throughout the process.

Posted by Magnus Back, a resident of Danville,
on May 22, 2020 at 7:54 am

To get customers back you need to make people confident they won't get the virus. Georgia opened a month back but unemployment is still rising since people have no trust the situation is managed well and they're staying home.

Close Main Street and only allow business in the area to use it for resupplying. The amount of parking is minimal and can be arranged elsewhere.
Let restaurant and shops expand out as they need.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on May 22, 2020 at 8:30 am



Posted by Pleasanton neighbor , a resident of Birdland,
on May 22, 2020 at 10:43 am

Tim Hunt day says he believes in faith not fear....L O L...good luck with that, over 90,000 dead in America in less than 3 months .

Posted by BARBARA, a resident of Highland Oaks,
on May 22, 2020 at 2:16 pm

I love the idea of closing Pleasanton Main street temporarily so restaurants can move outside this summer. To those who are fearful,stay home. But consider that the only reason no one dies of the Spanish flu is because we developed immunity, not because we cured it. Life needs to move on.

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on May 22, 2020 at 4:06 pm

How fare will people walk from their homes to downtown main street?
Will they walk a half mile, one mile?

Those that live further out from downtown main street will still drive to near by and search out available parking.

Seems opening downtown main street may be limited, not reasonable for many Pleasanton residents.

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