news 6 days ago

Pomona expands outdoor dining options to spur local economy

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Calif. — Javier Rojas Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Calif.

June 30-- Jun. 30--In an attempt to give the local economy a boost after months of novel coronavirus-related restrictions that hampered business, Pomona city leaders have temporarily loosened rules for food trucks and restaurants.

At a meeting in June, the Pomona City Council unanimously approved a motion to allow food trucks to operate on private property, such as a restaurant parking lot or in front of a business, with the property owner's permission. The six-month pilot program, known as Activate Pomona, will run through the end of 2020. As part of the program, the city will waive permits fees for participating businesses and/or food trucks.

The program is meant to help restaurants dealing with occupancy restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic. For example, if a restaurant wants to utilize its parking lot for outdoor dinning, it can do so. This includes any business that doesn't serve food but wants to have a food truck on its property.

The plan is to track permits, evaluate the process and report back to the City Council by early next year, according to Anita Gutierrez, development services director.

"People are excited about the program and at the prospect of having more businesses getting more creative with the way they operate," Gutierrez said. "We are hoping to see this program at full strength in the next few weeks."

In addition, the program, approved June 15, allows for the full utilization of city sidewalks and streets, where permitted, to allow restaurants and food trucks to offer curbside pickup and parklets for dining. Road closures may be permitted in the downtown area. Gutierrez noted that sidewalk retail and popup art events also will be allowed under the program.

Mayor Tim Sandoval said he hopes the program spurs more foot traffic on city streets and revives the economy, which has suffered greatly over the past four months due to the pandemic. While some council members expressed concerns about the program's impact on brick-and-mortar stores, Sandoval said the program could inspire local businesses to get creative and perhaps help pave the way for new ventures such as food trucks.

"I think this adds to the flavor of the community, it adds to the economy here in Pomona and it gives people the opportunity to even open up their own business," Sandoval said.

Businesses may begin applying for the program immediately on the Pomona city website.

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