Message from the City of Livermore…
Since the March 13 local declaration of emergency, the City has been working creatively and quickly to help our local businesses weather this difficult time. One area of particular focus has been on the downtown core and quickly pivoting to outdoor dining, retail and exercise through simplified, no-cost outdoor use permits, City acquisition of all necessary safety barriers, fencing, and short-duration parking signage, and extensive City personnel time reconfiguring downtown.
While outdoor flex zone dining appears to be working and will continue, one action we thought would further help residents feel safe returning downtown and therefore help our businesses survive was to close sections of First Street on weekends. While we’ve adjusted this concept over time, it does not appear that many residents have utilized the roadway for the intended social distancing purposes and it has hurt some of the downtown retailers in particular.
In fact, a survey completed by 44 downtown businesses last week showed that only 1 out of 4 felt that the street closure was beneficial to their business with 69% reporting losses of up to 25% and an additional 22% reporting losses of 25-50%.