WeHo expands outdoor business permit program

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Independent Staff Report

WEST HOLLYWOOD — The city is responding in creative ways to community needs as the community navigates the coronavirus pandemic and is taking extensive steps to support businesses with solutions that protect health and safety by turning things inside out. 

In July, the city began its temporary outdoor expansion permit program by offering streamlined approval for businesses to use sidewalks, on-street parking spaces and private parking lots as areas to expand operations.

Now, the program has been expanded and given a fresh, new name: Outdoor Use Temporary Zones (OUT Zones). These temporary expansions provide outdoor commercial space in public right-of-way for restaurants, shops and personal care establishments to move operations outside to ensure social (physical) distancing and meet protocols set forth by the L.A. County Department of Public Health and state of California, which currently prohibit many indoor operations in those sectors.

OUT Zones and other business relief measures are outlined in the city’s most recent Emergency Executive Order, available city’s website at https://www.weho.org/home/showdocument?id=48059.

“State and county health orders that aim to reduce transmission of the coronavirus have forced many of our local businesses and restaurants to limit or halt indoor operations,” Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath said. “This has had a profound impact on the city of West Hollywood’s business community and has added to the economic challenges wrought by COVID-19.

“Creating more outdoor spaces for expanded operations is a creative approach that will help West Hollywood’s businesses, residents, and visitors as we continue to respond to the pandemic. OUT Zones will activate sidewalks, street-sides, and parking lots with perimeter barriers for safety and will offer people outdoor spots for dining, shopping, and personal care while supporting local businesses.”

The “soft opening” for the first phase of the city’s new OUT Zones program began Aug. 25, with the installation of protective barriers, known as ‘k-rails’ outside of participating businesses.

More than 60 businesses have been approved for temporary OUT Zone permits, and during the coming weeks, there will be many new zones coming out.

OUT Zones will be marked by colorful signage with spots to “Dine OUT” for restaurants and cafes, “Shop OUT” for boutiques and goods, and “Werk OUT” for exercise and personal care.

People exploring West Hollywood’s OUT Zones are reminded that the city has a mandatory face-covering requirement and are urged to be mindful of maintaining six feet of social distancing for dining, shopping, and personal care under the sun and stars.

Businesses interested in applying for the program are invited to watch a one-hour webinar that provides program details and information on submitting an application to temporarily expand business outdoors. OUT Zone permits are free, and all parking requirements have been temporarily waived.

For more information, contact Paolo Kespradit at (323) 848-6556 or pkespradit@weho.org.