By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to instruct city agencies and departments to pursue changes that would make it easier for restaurants to provide outdoor dining amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even before the pandemic, a lot of those who sought to open restaurants or bars complained legitimately about a lot of red tape and delays that they had in obtaining approvals, and a variety of unnecessary outdated requirements,” Councilman Bob Blumenfield said.

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“In order to promote economic recovery and ensure a vital Los Angeles economy for years to come, I introduced a motion to have the economic and workforce development departments with various city departments…develop a set of recommendations to streamline city policies,” he said.

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The measures include:

  •  instructing the Bureau of Engineering to evaluate and report on options for streamlining the process of permitting sidewalk dining;
  • instructing the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to report on the fiscal impact of indefinitely extending the Food Pick-up Zone Program;
  • requesting the Los Angeles Police Commission to consider accepting live music and/or dancing permit applications; and
  • instructing the Bureau of Street Services and the Los Angeles Fire Department to streamline the process for restaurants and bars to have tents, canopies and awnings in the public right of way.

“I think there is no time like the present to take a good long look at what we can do to help this economy rev up very quickly once the pandemic eases and comes to an end,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said. “I would also like to involve the sometimes over — I think over-active and somewhat draconian — health department rules as it relates to restaurants and getting restaurants open and inspected and open for business, as well.”

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)