At least one Southern California city is considering drastically reducing the expansion of outdoor dining.
The outdoor dining area at Restaurant 1212 on the Santa Monica Boardwalk has been hugely popular, but it seems most will disappear by the end of the month.
Workers say it will cost jobs as many cities struggle to keep something that has saved many restaurants.
Camilla Meneses works in the kitchen at 1212 Restaurant who says she may have to lay off dozens of employees when the city of Santa Monica forces her to eliminate most of her outdoor dining spaces at the end of the month.
The restaurant worker pleaded with the City Council this week to extend current outdoor dining on the Promenade until at least February.
But the city says many tables are violating its fire code in a statement saying, “Dining in the fire line prevents firefighters from accessing businesses in the event of a fire or other emergency.”
Even if the restaurant pointed out that two fountains already block this access.
“We have to remove a lot of people if it goes away, so we’d like to keep it,” said restaurant manager Giulio.
Several cities are debating whether to keep the sidewalk restaurants created during the pandemic. The Pasadena program is scheduled to end this year. Beverly Hills, Culver City and Manhattan Beach have extended their programs through the end of the year and say they are working on permanent spaces.
Los Angeles has already created a permanent program for areas like San Pedro. Santa Monica says it’s also creating a permanent outdoor dining program, but only for sidewalks.
1212 says it would paralyze him.
“I know they have to make cuts and I just hope I’m not one of those they have to cut,” said restaurant worker Robert.
Another 1212 worker told NBC4 that she was worried about her job. She is a Ukrainian refugee who sends money to her family.