TEMPE, Ariz. - With record high temperatures, it typically drives people indoors, into air-conditioned environments, but there are a lot of people who can take the heat, and businesses and restaurants in Tempe, are ready to serve them.
"Even today, we’re going to have people out here," said Allan Galanti, general manager of La Bocca. "111 degrees isn’t going to deter people from coming out."
The patio at la bocca typically fills up during happy hour and dinner time. Since re-opening, they’ve had to cut capacity.
"We did have capacity of 50. Now, we're down to 25," said Galanti. With additional area to seat people we should be able to bring that number to what it was before.
One way to increase capacity is to expand and utilize the space they have outdoors. Galanti is looking to take advantage of Tempe’s recent emergency proclamation, which will expedite permits and allow businesses to utilize the outdoor space around it.
"It allows businesses to expand into the right of way, so to speak," said Tempe mayor Mark Mitchell. "Sometimes it means into the parking lot in front of their business. It will be on a case by case basis.
It’s one of many actions the city has taken to ease restrictions for struggling businesses."
Mayor Mitchell says Tempe is also offering free one-hour parking along mill avenue.
"Being able to potentially expand our patio out to seat more people is something that’s a big impact for us," said Galanti.
Even as the temperatures reach triple digits, he says many customers now prefer to dine outside, and studies show being outdoors can lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
"So being out here at 110 is a whole lot harder to spread than inside with air condition at 75, definitely," said Galanti.