Santa Clarita expands outdoor business program

The Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal

Santa Clarita recently expanded the program it created for Main Street to allow more businesses citywide to be able to use their outdoor space safely and more creatively, according to Jason Crawford, economic development director for the city of Santa Clarita.

Main Street Newhall is set to close to vehicle traffic this weekend for restaurants to expand dining operations into the streets as part of the city of Santa Clarita’s Eat Local program.

The closure allows restaurants on Main Street between Market and 6th streets to extend their dining services into the sidewalks and street each weekend through August. 

In addition, each restaurant is set up with water-filled K-rails, allowing them to provide outdoor dining in parking spaces along Main Street all week long. 

“Now more than ever, local governments need to work with our small business to find creative ways to help keep their doors open, keep their staff employed, and we think the closure of Main Street will not only allow our local restaurants to expand their footprint, but we hope that it will drive home more customers to our retail locations within the Main Street area,” Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth said. “We have seen other cities employ a similar approach, and it’s been very well-received by the community, so I have no doubt that the people of Santa Clarita will do what they can to help support their local businesses.”

Participating restaurants include The Old Town Junction, Smokehouse on Main and Newhall Press Room, while additional restaurants along Main Street are also in the process of completing plans for similar outdoor seating setups, according to city officials.

“At least outdoors, they can enjoy being away from home, but still feeling secure, where they know that we’re following protocol and everything’s safe and everything’s sanitized,” said Cherie McGraham, owner of Smokehouse on Main.

Through the street closures, Smokehouse is also setting up curbside service in the back so people can drive through the alley and pick up their to-go orders, McGraham added.

That being said, McGraham is encouraging SCV residents to come out and support local restaurants, as many are reaching the end of their ability to stay afloat.

“If people aren’t going to restaurants, then some of their favorite ones are not going to survive,” she added. 

Other businesses across the city can also expand their offerings through the Shop Local program, which encourages SCV residents to shop locally by allowing businesses to expand onto private sidewalks, common areas and parking spaces, giving them flexibility, while following current public health guidelines. 

Similar to restaurants, businesses can apply for temporary use permits, which will be issued by the city’s planning division, with the goal of same-day issuance, allowing businesses unable to operate within their building to expand outdoors at no charge, according to city officials.

The Main Street closure is set to begin at approximately 3 p.m. Friday and go until 11 p.m. Sunday, with this schedule intended to continue on weekends through August.

For more information on the Shop Local and Eat Local Programs, contact Jason Crawford, the city’s planning and economic development manager, at [email protected]. Santa Clarita expands outdoor business program. Santa Clarita expands outdoor business program. ν

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