SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A block in midtown Sacramento that has been closed to traffic since the pandemic in order to help surrounding bars and restaurants is reopening to vehicles temporarily. 

The Midtown Association announced in a press release Thursday that the stretch of 20th Street between J and K streets will reopen to traffic for the first time since June 2020. 

The Midtown Association said that the reopening is to evaluate equipment that had been placed in a “somewhat rushed manner” during the pandemic.

The Midtown Association said the equipment — barricades, outdoor furniture, lighting structures, etc. — was intended to be in place on a temporary basis and has deteriorated.

“During the colder winter weather when outdoor dining is not as desirable, the Midtown Association will take time to evaluate options and explore other alternative equipment that will better accommodate the needs of surrounding restaurants and businesses,” the Midtown Association said.

“In addition, the goal for moving forward is to develop a more comprehensive and thoughtful plan for future use that is highlighted by proper pedestrian and bicycle pathways, consistent and/or thematic outdoor furniture, and other amenities that create a beautiful public space in the heart of midtown.” 

Although it’ll reopen, 20th Street and other adjacent streets in midtown will still be closed on Saturdays for the weekly Midtown Farmers’ Market and for special events. The farmers’ market takes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

When 20th Street closes for the farmers’ market and special events, the Midtown Association said it will be closed off by short-term activations, branded vehicles, removable bollards, and other large and visible signage will be put in place to alert drivers. 

The midtown block is the third in midtown to reopen to traffic in 2022. R Street between 14th and 15th streets and Capitol Avenue between 18th and 19th streets reopened for traffic

However, the City of Sacramento also bolstered its Al Fresco Dining Program this summer.

The Sacramento City Council voted on June 23 to make its temporary Al Fresco Dining program permanent, which allows restaurants to utilize parking and sidewalk spaces as temporary outdoor dining structures. 

The reopening of those streets was required to reopen on Aug. 1, as part of the program’s transitioning schedule. Under the program, costs and fees associated with the closures would need to be paid for by the businesses. 

According to the Midtown Association, the Sacramento City Council is expected to hear an update and vote on a permanent Al Fresco program in January.

The updated program would outline the process for local restaurants in midtown and throughout the central part of the city to have the option to set up outdoor patios near their businesses, the Midtown Association said.