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The Huntington Beach City Council on Monday evening is expected to consider extending the temporary closure of the second and third blocks of Main Street to vehicle traffic through Feb. 28 to allow downtown restaurants and other businesses to continue to serve patrons outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at squick@voiceofoc.org.

The panel approved the closure of the second block on July 6 and the third block on Aug. 3. Restaurants have been able to follow coronavirus protocols because of the closures.

According to a letter from the Huntington Beach Downtown Business Improvement District, the merchants on the second block “are very consistent in their support for a continued closure,” while the third block businesses “continue to be divided in their view of the closure.”

Businesses on the two blocks were surveyed between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1 to find out if they supported the continuation of the street closures. 

Around 88% of the merchants agreed with the continuation of the street closure of the second block, while 79% agree with the continued closure of the third block.

Killarney’s Irish Pub is one of many businesses that supports the continued street closure. 

“I’d love for this to be a permanent fixture of downtown,” General Manager Will Walton said in the survey. “It brings a better family feeling to downtown.”

President Jason Hilbert of the Huntington Beach Bicycle Co., said his business has been negatively impacted by the street closure and wants the thoroughfare to open by Dec. 31, when the current closures were set to expire. 

The city should “expand outdoor dining on the west side of the second block to accommodate restaurants while leaving the entire street open to traffic,” Hilbert said in the survey.

The City Council meeting can be streamed on the city’s website at 6 p.m.

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