In May 2020, the City of Petaluma implemented a Free Range permitting program to help businesses expand onto public or private sidewalks and parking spots while their ability to operated indoors is restricted because of the State COVID-19 health orders.
Over the course of a year, the City issued Free Range permits to 58 businesses, including restaurants, hair stylists, nail salons, fitness operators, and massage therapists.
From humble beginnings of restauranteurs putting chairs and tables on sidewalks, Free Range evolved to include City-funded traffic barriers and tents, the closure of Water Street, parking spaces to accommodate pick-up/delivery options, and built out “parklets” funded by business owners and/or Creative Sonoma's Creative Reopening Grant. Click here to read about some of the participating restaurants and here to read a longer version of the Free Range story.
The Free Range program has been an incredible success. It not only allowed businesses to operate when they otherwise would have been shut down or severely limited, it also has provided opportunities for community members to experience how outdoor spaces can be used in new and creative ways.
Free Range's outdoor dining setups have been so popular, many restaurant owners and community members would like to see this continue in some form past the program’s projected end date of October 31, 2021.
The City needs to consider a variety of factors before extending the program. One important factor is how other businesses and the wider community feel about using public right of way for outdoor dining. Please take the survey below by August 1, 2021, to let us know what you think!
For info about how to apply for the program, contact Nancy Sands, Economic Development Specialist, at 707-778-4484 or by email at [email protected].
Take Our Survey
Your feedback to the attached survey will help us find the best ways to support local businesses in the collective recovery effort.