A pilot program permitting outdoor dining along Palm Canyon Drive is expected to begin within the next two weeks, Palm Springs announced Monday.

The program would allow for a full closure of Palm Canyon Drive between Baristo Road and Tahquitz Canyon Way, according to Councilman Dennis Woods, who serves as the city’s liaison for expanding outdoor dining.

The “al fresco” dining program unanimously approved by the Palm Springs City Council Thursday night also gives restaurants outside the closure area the option to expand outdoor dining on sidewalks with temporary land use permits, according to Development Services Director Flinn Fagg.

Additional restaurant dining options are also being considered for parking lots, Fagg said.

The program is a response to COVID-19 emergency orders prohibiting restaurants from offering indoor dining.

“We recognize that our local restaurants have struggled tremendously since the spread of COVID-19 effectively changed how we all operate,” Woods said.

“Staff has been working diligently with stakeholders over the last several months to develop an outdoor dining pilot program that we hope will make outdoor dining safer by allowing for social distancing and help our local economy as we head into the fall season in the Coachella Valley when typically many of our part-time residents and tourists return.”

More information about outdoor dining and applying for a temporary land use permit is available at www.palmspringsca.gov/alfresco.

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