Outdoor dining is here to stay, LA officials greenlight ordinance to make 'Al Fresco' dining permanent

It's official: outdoor dining will remain a fixture in Los Angeles restaurant culture.

"Today’s approval of the Al Fresco Dining Ordinance continues our work to ensure that Los Angeles is not just open for business but that we are advocating for businesses," said LA Mayor Karen Bass in a statement.

The LA City Council voted unanimously to make the once temporary, pandemic-era program, a permanent policy.

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"Our experience during the pandemic proved that expanded outdoor dining is a boon for business and also brings greater opportunity to enjoy all that is best about Los Angeles," said City Council President Paul Krekorian. "The council’s action today will bring renewed economic and cultural vitality to our neighborhoods and commercial districts."

Under the ordinance, restaurants must still have an outdoor alcohol license to serve liquor in the al fresco dining area, patios must close by 10:30 p.m. (Sunday - Thursday) and 11 p.m. (Friday, Saturday). Additionally, live music or background music is prohibited in the outdoor area.

Before the al fresco program, outdoor dining permits were costly, and often took months to reach approval by the city.

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LA's al fresco program was established in May 2020 by then-Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council. The program allowed restaurants to convert public spaces, such as sidewalks and parking lots, into outdoor dining areas due to health restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This is a big win for restaurants and the public," said Council President Pro Tempore Marqueece Harris-Dawson. "The permanent Al Fresco dining ordinance will help support mom-and-pop restaurants, create a cultural shift in how public spaces are used in LA, and demonstrate the best practices for city government working efficiently to serve the people."