By CBSLA Staff

MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA) – The city of Manhattan Beach is closing a major downtown street to cars next week in order to give its restaurants more space to expand outdoor dining.

People eat take-out food outdoors at a “public parklet” due to Covid-19 restrictions on restaurant outdoor dining in Manhattan Beach, Calif., on Dec. 12, 2020. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images)

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Beginning Feb. 12, Manhattan Avenue will be closed to vehicles between Manhattan Beach Boulevard and 12th Street, the city announced Wednesday.

“Closing Manhattan Avenue allows for more spacing, which is necessary to prevent crowding in an area that has lots of restaurants in close proximity,” said Mayor Suzanne Hadley in a statement.

The closure will remain in effect indefinitely.

Several cities across Los Angeles County have closed major thoroughfares since the pandemic began in order to help local businesses.

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San Fernando Boulevard in downtown Burbank was shut down from July to December, when California’s regional stay-at-home order was put in place, forcing all restaurants to halt outdoor dining. The order was lifted just last week, allowing restaurants to resume outdoor dining.

The city of Pasadena also closed portions of Colorado Boulevard beginning last summer.

Meanwhile, Long Beach launched the Open Streets Initiative, closing several roads to cars during specific hours, but keeping them open for walking and biking.

The Los Angeles City Council is considering making its own Al Fresco program permanent. The program, which began in May, makes it easier for restaurants to get the permits they need to expand outdoor eating to sidewalks, private parking lots and streets.

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In November, the city of Pico Rivera began testing out a new experience it calls “parklets,” in which street areas will be transformed into microparks and outdoor dining spaces.