NEVADA CITY, Calif. (KTXL) — Post-pandemic rules in Nevada City are posing yet another problem to restaurants in the historic downtown area.
It’s a common sight on commercial streets during the pandemic: Restaurants given special permits to place outdoor dining areas.
“It’s made all the difference for us,” said Kim Crevoiserat, general manager for Nevada City Winery. “It’s kept our doors open.”
Customers at Nevada City Winery took to the outdoor space right away. It even recently upgraded its table area.
But with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s back-to-normal date of June 15 approaching, Nevada City officials have safety concerns with people eating in traffic and the valuable spots they take up.
Some feel rescinding the permits would kill the festive vibe that has been created downtown.
“It creates a sense of community and ability to socialize with people especially when they walk by on the street, it draws people in,” Crevoiserat said.
Establishments like the winery have tried to erect physical barriers and signage to keep customers safe from traffic.
Steve Hillis runs Mountain Pastimes toy story on Spring Street across from the winery. And the foot traffic is music to his ears. But he, like other merchants, is concern about parking for his customers — a problem even before the pandemic.
He’s hoping for a happy medium when the city considers new outdoor dining guidelines.
“We’ll have to get some rules to get in place so we can all do the same thing,” Hillis said.
Some businesses believe that even after June 15 people will be hesitant to dine indoors. Doing away with outdoor dining just as the weather is warming up would be another blow to businesses.
“I think there is a hesitancy to go back in, people are still a little afraid, Crevoiserat said. “There’s got to be some sort of balance.”
Hillis says the city has to play around with different solutions
“Can we bring more people and where are they going to park? Yet I want to keep my restaurant open, so I moved out in front. So, it’s sort of a give and take,” Hlliis said.
Nevada City’s outdoor dining dilemma is not its own. Other cities up and down the state will have to deal with the same issue.
For the time being, businesses in Nevada City hope a compromise can be struck before June 15.