Alameda Co. submits request to allow outdoor dining, waiting for state's go-ahead

Alameda County supervisors on Tuesday submitted a variance application to the state that, if approved, will allow outdoor dining to resume. 

At a Board of Supervisors meeting county officials decided they would ask for permission from the state to move forward after officials abruptly halted outdoor dining. 

Alameda County ordered restaurants, bars, and wineries to immediately end outdoor services and go back to offering delivery and pick-up services. 

The county said under recently changed state rules, it needs a variance for outdoor dining to continue. Outdoor dining had already been allowed for several weeks. When Alameda County sent out a notice late Friday, which said it cannot continue outdoor dining without a variance, causing confusion for many restaurant owners and cities.

Until Monday night it appeared that the state was pausing the process for applying for variances, but Alameda County learned that it could actually apply. 

Although some cities and restaurant owners have chosen to continue with outdoor services without state approval, Alameda County officials said they want cities to follow the guidelines because future funding for COVID-19 is tied to compliance with state orders. 

Alameda County is the only Bay Area county that did not apply for a variance from the state in May. Without it, outdoor dining isn't allowed and places like Fairyland and the Oakland Zoo can't reopen. 

Oakland, Hayward, Dublin, and Livermore were among the cities in Alameda County that pushed back on the closure of outdoor dining over the weekend. 

California has yet to approve Alameda County's variance application.