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To boost outdoor dining, Huntington Beach may extend Main Street closure for summer

A server tends to customers at an outdoor table.
Mike Morgan, a server at Killarneys Irish Pub, tends to customers in November. The Huntington Beach City Council on Tuesday night will consider extending the closure of the second block of Main Street through Labor Day.
(Scott Smeltzer / Times Community News)

The Huntington Beach City Council will consider keeping the partial closure of Main Street in place through Labor Day.

The second block in downtown Huntington Beach has been closed since last summer to encourage outdoor dining, and if approved at Tuesday night’s meeting, that closure would be extended through Sept. 6. The area is currently closed through the end of February.

Council members voted 6 to 1 in September to extend the closures of both the second and third blocks of Main Street to vehicular traffic. At that time, the downtown Business Improvement District submitted a letter showing the support of 19 businesses in continuing the closure of the second block of Main Street through the end of the year. But City Manager Oliver Chi said in a report that some businesses in the third block were less enthusiastic about the closure. That block has fewer dining establishments and more retail businesses.

Experts say the improving COVID-19 picture in California now is traceable in part to tough measures taken two months ago. Officials estimate that as many as 25,000 severe cases of the disease were prevented.

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The street closures have primarily been used for outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In December, the City Council voted 4 to 3 to keep the second block of Main Street closed to traffic through February but to reopen the third block, which drew opposition from some business owners.

The council is now reexamining the second block closure.

According to the item prepared by the director of community development, Ursula Luna-Reynosa, “the temporary closure of Main Street has resulted in robust discussions that warrants further study for informed discussions about future placemaking opportunities and better connection to the southern portion of the Downtown as defined in the Downtown Specific Plan.”


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