Bars were allowed to reopen in San Diego County last Friday and crowds immediately headed back downtown with photos from the scene, showing mask-less people on packed sidewalks, drawing a quick rebuke from county officials.
Michael Trimble, executive director of the Gaslamp Quarter Association (GQA), tells Eater that by Saturday night, bars had managed to get a better handle on crowd and line control, and hopes that a new program starting this Thursday, June 18 will help to ease things further.
Following Little Italy, the Gaslamp is the latest local neighborhood to get the go-ahead for curbside dining. Its initial footprint will span Fifth Avenue between G Street and L Street while the second phase, beginning July 1, will add the block between F Street and G Street. The street will be closed from 5 p.m. to midnight on Thursday and Friday and from noon to midnight on Saturday; Trimble says that the program could continue until the end of the year.
Barleymash at Fifth and Market is adding more outdoor dining space by fencing off an area that will span the length of its current patio and extend 10 feet into the street, and The Verant Group’s Dave Jones says the bar and restaurant is “committed to safe operations under the current County Covid-19 guidelines.”
Other restaurants participating this weekend are Rustic Root, Cafe Sevilla, Havana 1920, and El Chingon, but Trimble says the program could eventually encompass up to 50 restaurants. He told Eater that they will be reminding people to wear their masks and will have extra masks available to the public.