The Santa Barbara City Council has extended the hours that bars and restaurants can stay open.
Eateries in the Central Business District, Coast Village Road, and the leisure area known as the Funk Zone will now be able to stay open until 12:30 a.m.
Under prior coronavirus restrictions, closure time had been set at 10 p.m., which owners said was not late enough, especially as customer numbers remain low.
"Most of our occupancies are between 10 and 30%, even with the outdoor areas," says Bob Stout, who owns two establishments in the region. "Even those you see with lots of tables and chair outside, remember: there's no one inside."
The City Council had concerns about maintaining social distancing protocols in the restaurants, especially with respect to making sure customers wore masks when proper.
Other areas had been considered for the extended hours, but for now, the extended hours will only apply to those three areas.