Palm Springs officials announced Tuesday that the city’s outdoor dining program will begin Friday.

The “al fresco” dining program is a response to COVID-19 emergency orders prohibiting restaurants from offering indoor dining. Palm Canyon Drive between Baristo Road and Tahquitz Canyon Way will be shut down to vehicle traffic, allowing some restaurants to shift operations onto the street.

Street closures will begin Thursday, with permitted businesses being able to start offering outdoor dining the following day.

Restaurants outside the closure area will also have the option to expand outdoor dining onto sidewalks.

“We recognize that our local restaurants have struggled tremendously since the spread of COVID-19 effectively changed how we all operate,” Councilman Dennis Woods said after the Palm Springs City Council unanimously approved the pilot program last month.

“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,” he added.

Motorists were advised to use alternate driving routes.

Businesses that want to take part in the program can find more information on how to apply at www.palmspringsca.gov/alfresco.

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