In an effort to boost outdoor seating areas for curbside and takeout customers, the city of Tehachapi added 14 new umbrellas to downtown picnic tables.

Local business owners expressed there wasn't enough outdoor seating, according to a city news release.

“They’ve (restaurants) struggled with finding enough outdoor seating to accommodate customers and comply with COVID-19 directives,” Tehachapi Economic Development Coordinator Corey Costelloe said in the city news release.

He designed a guide for customers to find a nearby place to sit outside, and within an hour of the umbrellas' installation by the Public Works Department, more than half the newly shaded tables were in use at lunchtime, the city said.

“I am so happy we can help our local restaurants and let the public enjoy some of our beautiful spaces in downtown. Whatever we are able to do to show support for businesses is a great thing," Mayor Susan Wiggins said.

The city news release credit City Manager Greg Garrett for recognizing the umbrellas "would offer an enhanced experience for those supporting local businesses."

The shaded tables are at Centennial Plaza on Green Street, Railroad Park and Freedom Plaza on Tehachapi Boulevard. The Historic Train Depot also has outdoor picnic tables, but umbrellas could not be installed due to the style of the tables, the city said.

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