San Jose to allow restaurants to stay open after 10 p.m. after procedures caused confusion

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) – The city of San Jose is making changes to its dining options in time for this weekend.

The city is changing its Al Fresco program, which started in June. The program enables businesses to move operations outside and has helped restaurants along North San Pedro Street serve their diners on the additional outdoor space.

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But on Saturday night, San Jose police showed up and enforced that restaurants must close at 10 p.m. according to the program.

Frank Martinez runs The Old Wagon Saloon and Grill. He said it was actually nice to have someone show up and clarify how long they can stay open.

“There’s really no structure. So it was good to get a list of rules. So at least we’re all on the same page now. I’m not so sure about the time. You told us once, and now.” I hear it’s another time, “Martinez said.

Martinez said the raid didn’t do much for their business as they could get their guests off the street and onto their patio. He said not everyone has this option.

“For places like O’Flats (O’Flaherty’s), Firehouse and District, without the terrace like ours, it’s harder for them to keep business going. Such a change came as a big surprise to them,” Martinez said said.

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After some complaints about Saturday night’s raid, city manager David Sykes said during Tuesday’s city council meeting that he could change the time from 10 p.m. to 12 p.m. and speed up the process for the coming weekend.

“In practice we could issue an update to the Emergency Ordinance which would have to be ratified the next day. I think we have a chance to speed this up, I just want to make sure there is a little bit of internal coordination on it and it sounds like that Like it already existed. But I think we can look at this for the next few days or so and see if we can do anything before the weekend, “said Sykes.
Firehouse No.1 next to the Old Wagon Saloon and Grill said they may not even be able to stay open until midnight due to staff availability.

Bora Celebi, the bar house manager at Firehouse, said he had to speak to his general manager about it.

“If it’s not busy enough to have the shop it’s hard to justify, but how is it going to be, how busy it will be by the time you open so late?” said Celebi.

“We’re not trying to lose any business, that’s for sure, as we have to sell as much as we can just to stay afloat – to keep people busy,” said Celebi.

The city hopes to expand the Al Fresco program beyond December 31st.

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