City Announces Changes to Downtown Tent after Large Gathering

The tent on G Street which will be taken down

By David M. Greenwald

In the wake of the pandemic that forced businesses, particularly restaurants and bars, at various times to shut down indoor service, the city modified the downtown to accommodate changes to health regulations by providing outdoor seating and blocking off a portion of both the E Street Parking lot and G Street to allow for Open Air Davis.

However, this weekend, that privilege was abused when a large group gathered at G Street and has forced the city to remove the large tents at both locations.

On Wednesday, the city announced modifications to downtown Davis open air tent locations and regulations.

In December 2020, the city placed tents in the Davis downtown in partnership with the Davis Downtown Business Association to further support an initiative called “Open Air Davis.”

These tents were funded with a County CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act grant. According to the city, “The ‘Open Air Davis’ tents and tables were meant to aid local restaurants while State guidance restricted businesses to take-out food only.

“The City is aware of a large gathering that took place this past weekend at one of the downtown tent sites contrary to COVID-19 safety protocols. City staff met this week with the Davis Downtown Business Association leaders to address changes,” the city announced.

Effective Thursday morning, the large tents will be removed from the G Street location between Second and Third Streets, all alcohol will be required to be served by businesses within their temporary-use permit (TUP) area with no general open container zone on G Street.

The city is also removing the smaller tent from E Street Plaza and redeploying tent and table resources on G Street for the businesses that had to remove their original TUP spaces to accommodate the larger tent.

“The gathering that took place was clearly unacceptable, and these changes to the downtown tent areas are necessary to prevent gatherings like we saw this past weekend,” said Police Chief Darren Pytel. “We ask the public to continue to abide by State and County COVID-19 rules for their own safety and for the safety of the community.”

“The City is trying to help downtown businesses during the pandemic by allowing the flexible use of outdoor space, but public health has to come first” said Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs. “All tented areas will now be assigned as temporary-use permit spaces where businesses are responsible for space management, cleanliness and alcohol use. We appreciate the continued collaboration with Davis Downtown as we work through these community safety issues.”

Prior to the announcement on Wednesday, the city expressed concerns about the management of the street.  The city has not yet considered whether to do the arrangement longer term—post COVID would reduce the concerns about large gatherings in the space.

Right now the city is looking to potentially replace the large tent with several smaller ones, with the idea that adjacent businesses would be better able to help manage those spaces.

The downside of the current configuration is that it removes the traffic flow from G Street, although with the narrow configuration it often made for a poor arterial.  In addition, roughly 40 parking spaces have been removed between the entrance to the former Ace parking lot and Third Street.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Keith Y Echols

    We haven’t bought nice furniture for our house because we have young kids.

    I kinda feel the same for Davis; we can’t have some nice things here either.

  2. Alan Miller

    As I mentioned yesterday, a friend went by a gathering there over the weekend and called it ‘scary’.

    I really liked the old tents and managed spaces, and wondered what was going on with the new ones, installed just before holiday shutdown and then Newsom reopening.

    The tents aren’t the problem, then tents are a symptom.  Of people being stupid.

    This is also a highlight of what is causing this.  I know a business owner there.  Everyone knows where the center of this is coming from.  And it isn’t caused by food or businesses that are primarily restaurants.  Enough said.

    Closing G Street long term?  Bad way to go about this.  The city should have ped malls, and I’ve proposed a location for this several times and even made a drawing years ago.  Takes into account circulation, deliveries, etc.  Simply choosing G Street because that’s what we shut down during a pandemic is a lame way to choose your mall.

    1. David Greenwald

      Maybe – but G St makes the most sense to me based on traffic flow – you can’t do 2nd or 3rd, E and F are larger arterials for traffic flowing into and out of the Downtown, so unless you want the area to way out of the main business district, G makes the most sense. But actually, the concept is solid, the location is debatable.

      1. Alan Miller

        I disagree, but I don’t have time to make the whole case and I’m not making a half-arsed case and going back and forth.  Perhaps when the magic time genie gives us all our 2020 back I’ll write an article on it.

    2. Bill Marshall

      Simply choosing G Street because that’s what we shut down during a pandemic is a lame way to choose your mall.


       but G St makes the most sense to me based on traffic flow

      Pre-supposes shutting down a street… no permanent street closures in the DT makes ANY SENSE to me…

  3. Tia Will

    I think this article is an apt illustration of my concern about loosening restrictions & moving into the red tier based on a short-term improvement in number as I wrote in response to yesterday’s article. We have seen the city attempt to lessen the financial impact on local businesses, only to have citizens behave in an irresponsible fashion.

    Once again, I am going to put in a plea for very simple steps which would improve life for all of us in the long run:

    1.Favor outdoor over indoor ( or enclosed) activities.

    2. Small groups, preferably your own household or established pod only

    3. Socially distance/wear your mask/disinfect

    4. Get your vaccine when it is your turn

    It’s not that difficult and might help us get off the roller coaster of lockdown/open up/lockdown…


    1. Alan Miller

      If only stupid people read blogs or newspapers, or understood what they were reading, or cared if they did.  But they are hanging out on G Street instead, partying at the Davis Superspreader Party.  It’s all the rage don’t you know.  Party!  Party!

      BTW, I was once accused of “virus shaming” people. My answer: yes

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