SJ to allow restaurants to stay open past 10 p.m. after crackdown caused confusion

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

The city is changing it's Al Fresco program they launched in June. The program allows businesses to move operations outside, and has helped restaurants along North San Pedro Street serve patrons on the extra outdoor space.

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But on Saturday night, San Jose Police officers showed up enforcing that restaurants must shut down at 10 p.m, in accordance to the program.

Frank Martinez manages The Old Wagon Saloon and Grill. He said it was actually nice to have someone show up and bring clarity as to how late they can stay open.

"There's really no structure to it. So it was good to get a list of rules. So at least now we're all on the same page. I'm not too sure about the time. They told us one time and now I hear it's another time," Martinez said,

Martinez said the crackdown didn't do much to their business since they could move their patrons from the street onto their patio. He said not everyone has that option.

"For places like O'Flats (O'Flaherty's), Firehouse and District, without the patio like ours, it's harder you know for them to keep business going. So a change like that was kind of a big surprise for them," Martinez said.

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After some complaints on that Saturday night crackdown, during Tuesday's city council meeting, city manager David Sykes said he could amend the time from 10 p.m. until 12 a.m., and expedite the process for this upcoming weekend.

"In a practical matter, we could issue an update to the emergency order, that would need to be ratified on its following date. I do think we have a means of being able to expedite this, I just want to make sure there's been a little internal coordination on it and it sounds like there might have been already. But I think we can look at this in the next day or so and see if we can't do something before the weekend," Sykes said.
Firehouse No.1 next door to the Old Wagon Saloon and Grill, said they might not even be able to stay open until midnight because of staff availability.

Bora Celebi, the bar house manager of Firehouse said he still needs to talk with his general manager about it.

"If it's not busy enough to have the business, its hard to kind of justify that, but how do you how busy it's going to be until you are open that late?" Celebi said.

"We're not trying to lose out on any business, that's for sure, as we need to sell as much as possible just to you know keep afloat- keep people employed," Celebi said.

The city hopes to expand the Al Fresco program past Dec. 31.

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