Emergency order allows outdoor use of space for business in Benicia

The first U.S. novel coronavirus case of unknown origin has been confirmed in Solano County.

 An emergency order streamlining the process to allow dine-in 
restaurants and retail shops in Benicia to reopen using outdoor space such as parking lots, sidewalk areas and public plazas was issued Friday by City Manager Lorie Tinfow.

"Our business community needs our help following the COVID-19 
closure," Tinfow said in an announcement. "We know that outdoor activities are lower risk in terms of exposure to the virus so we want to make it easier for dining and shopping. This emergency order cuts through the red tape for those interested in using privately or publicly owned spaces."

The city said it is also developing a program that could allow 
using parking spaces for alfresco dining and shopping spots.

Business owners need to complete and submit a form to the city for approval.

The city says the order is in alignment with the amended Solano 
County coronavirus shelter order allowing "medium risk" businesses such as dine-in restaurants and retail shops to operate within certain parameters.

The revised Solano County rules allow more businesses to reopen 
with social distancing protocols, occupancy limits, and extra sanitary steps such as the use of hand sanitizer.

Businesses are required to post signage that certifies compliance 
with the regulations.

While many businesses are eager to resume activity, the city noted in its announcement that some have chosen not to reopen at this time.

Questions about whether a business or activity is permitted to be 
open should be directed to the county's information line at (707) 784-8988 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Questions or concerns specifically about Benicia should be 
directed to (707) 746-4285 or pcs@ci.benicia.ca.us.