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Los Angeles Okays Permanent Al Fresco Dining

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The Permanent Al Fresco Program has arrived! Because of the success of the temporary L.A. Al Fresco Program, the City has established a new, permanent program. Both new applicants and Temporary Use Authorization holders must apply to offer outdoor dining. Current Temporary Use Authorizations are only valid until July 31, 2024. 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City enacted temporary emergency orders to allow restaurants to keep their doors open and serve customers while still adhering to local public health and safety measures. These emergency actions established L.A. Al Fresco, which authorized outdoor dining areas and temporarily suspended certain zoning regulations. 

Before the pandemic,  outdoor dining permits could take months to approve and were expensive. Converting outdoor space such as sidewalks and parking lots into dining areas was a game-changer for local restaurants, allowing them to remain open, serve customers and keep their staff employed. With the social distancing requirements of COVID, outdoor dining meant customers could still “go out” to lunch or dinner and maintain a six-foot separation.

This created a lifeline for many businesses, and was implemented with a simple process and minimal cost to participants. Due to the success of the temporary L.A. Al Fresco program, the City Council instructed City departments to establish permanent rules for outdoor dining on private property, sidewalks, and in-street (see Council File 20-1074 and 20-1074-S4). As such, City Planning worked alongside the Mayor’s Office, City Council and other City departments on a coordinated effort to establish a permanent Al Fresco program.

On December 15, 2023, City Council adopted the Al Fresco Ordinance – a key component of Los Angeles’s economic strategy, geared toward propping up locally-sourced jobs in the hospitality industry which are recovering from the pandemic. City Planning’s Al Fresco Ordinance amends provisions of Los Angeles’s Zoning Code to facilitate outdoor dining on private property. Recognizing the success of the emergency outdoor dining authorizations, the proposed ordinance simplifies current Zoning Code regulations for restaurant owners who wish to offer outdoor dining in private property areas including but not limited to parking lots, patios, and plazas. 

Specifically, the ordinance makes the temporary zoning relief measures for private property introduced during the pandemic that allowed restaurant operators to utilize their parking spaces to facilitate outdoor dining a permanent policy.

There are requirements and restrictions in place for the new permanent Al Fresco program, ranging from  having the outdoor space accessible by people of all abilities to banning live music,  televisions and live entertainment in outdoor dining areas.

Under the new ordinance, restaurants serving alcohol must pay $400 for an outdoor alcohol permit; patios must close by 10:30 pm Sunday through Thursday and no later than 11 pm on Friday and Saturday, among other rules.

For a complete list of requirements  visit planning.lacity.gov/plans-policies/outdoor-dining.


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