San Jose City Council Set to Vote on Extending City’s Al Fresco Program

Lucia Nichols

Al Fresco has become a staple for maintaining businesses throughout the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. The need for extended outdoor operations spurred the city of San Jose to create San Jose’s Al Fresco Program. This program has allowed businesses to run on city-owned parking lots, streets, and parks free of charge.
A total of 131 businesses registered to operate outdoors in San Jose through the program, according to a memo by Economic Development Director Nanci Klein. A dozen businesses got permits to operate on streets temporarily closed to cars and thirty-five businesses received permits for using public sidewalks, a parklet or both.
This essential program is now set to expire at the end of the month. San Jose City Council will vote today (Tuesday, March 30th) to possibly extent the Al Fresco program through September 30, 2021. Even as Santa Clara county moves into the less restrictive orange tier, restaurants are still only able to operate indoors at 50% capacity. This is not sufficient for most businesses who will still require outdoor options and will find it vital that the Al Fresco program is extended.
Al Fresco has been a positive experience for many, especially as we move into the Spring/Summer and businesses see an influx in customers taking advantage of the excellent weather.  
Councilmember Dev Davis said she’s optimistic the council will eventually make some version of Al Fresco permanent. “It’s a great program,” Davis told San José Spotlight. “I know that businesses, at least on Lincoln Avenue, have really taken advantage of the opportunity.”

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