Cities in the Tri-Valley are considering a new way to bring business to their downtown regions while residents continue to quarantine.
Seeing the impact county and state shelter-in-place orders have had on local businesses, Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin are considering the option of closing their downtown streets to allow restaurants to seat patrons at tables 6 feet apart.
Should it go into effect, Pleasanton Councilmember Karla Brown noted she would ask for 100% participation, making the street closure an opportunity for all businesses from city hall to the historic Pleasanton Hotel. It would possibly run two or three days a week on a temporary basis.
“I am excited about the idea that we could expand our downtown businesses onto Main Street by blocking off the street for vehicle traffic and use that to safely eat and dine and shop downtown,” Brown said, noting the concept has been on everyone’s mind within city leadership.
Livermore Mayor John Marchand said Adam Van de Water, Livermore Director of Innovation and Economic Development, is in discussions with Livermore Downtown Inc. over what this might look like. Van de Water shared that the council will discuss the concept with the community at its next city council meeting on May 11.
“We are hoping to do something similar (to Pleasanton) in Livermore in time for any changes to the (shelter-in-place) order and are currently working to marry business needs with community safety, traffic flow, takeout and delivery requirements, etc.,” Van de Water said.
Still in its infancy, officials acknowledged the concept would need to be vetted by the county health officer and receive the greenlight from the state. Should it be approved and parameters to ensure health safety were established, Brown further noted the street closures during the shelter-in-place would be a win-win for businesses in need of support and the public in need of community engagement — albeit in a different form than before COVID-19 became a household name.
Dublin might join the discussion as well, though Mayor David Haubert said his city’s lack of a main street area would mean the outdoor dining and shopping — should they move forward with plans — would most likely take place in a different region.
“We are open to any and all discussion for how we can best utilize our businesses as we make alternate arrangements for reopening,” he said.
He then noted a great potential location could be the Hacienda Crossings as the restaurants there could place tables in the open courtyard area in front of the Regal Hacienda Crossings & IMAX theater.
“That’s a private shopping center, and they would have to be the ones to take the initiative,” Haubert added. “But I’d advocate they work with the city to do that.”
The Bankhead Theater is currently in discussion with the cities of Pleasanton and Livermore to gauge the possibility of adding live music during the events.
“If there’s any way we can help out, we’d be happy to do that to make it so people want to come and feel safe and have an enjoyable time,” Bankhead Executive Director Chris Carter said.
Carter expanded on the concept and indicated the outdoor musical events could possibly offer support to musicians who will not be performing in a large theater anytime soon.
“Keep reminding people that art is important, especially in times right now,” he said.