Mill Valley city officials push Gov. Newsom to reconsider outdoor dining

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (KRON) - Restaurants with parklets and tented seating areas sit empty as the Bay Area remains under an indefinite shutdown order. 

Now the mayor and city council of Mill Valley are sending letters to the governor and the county public health officer urging them to reconsider the ban on outdoor dining.

They feel like the outdoor dining ban is overkill which is why they sent letters out Tuesday to both Governor Newsom and the Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis.

They question the science behind the decision and raise the worry that the move is actually backfiring encouraging people to congregate inside private homes where the risk for transmission is greater, in addition to the economic fallout.

“Restaurant workers are disproportionately lower-income, people of color so this is asking for no scientifically-based results, this is asking, economically vulnerable population to bear a disproportionate burden in a way that does not protect the medically vulnerable,” Mill Valley Mayor Sashi McEntee said.

While the picnic tables downtown seemed to have plenty of people eating takeout outside, the massive tent at Bungalow 44 remains empty.  

The owner says his business is down 80%.

“So it's pretty dire, the takeout only, it's not working for any of us. I really feel bad for the staff, we're down to 10-15% of the original staff, they're sitting at home they're getting depressed they don't have money and it's really hard,” Peter Schumacher said.

Marin Public Health has responded by saying in part:

“We are not in favor of encouraging an activity that promotes mixing households where masks must be removed to eat or drink. We are experiencing unprecedented numbers of new cases daily and support the regional stay at home order as a means to protect our community.”

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