In efforts to help reopen the local economy, elected officials in San Marcos have taken formal steps to provide creative alternatives for business owners to show they have reopened.

San Marcos City Council members approved an emergency ordinance May 5 for a Temporary Parklet Program, which will allow businesses in downtown San Marcos to convert on-street parking spaces into outdoor seating for commercial use, creating additional space for eateries and retail.

According to the ordinance, business owners are to use no more than two parking spaces adjacent to their shop for the parklet. The city will allow two parklets per block-face—four per block—to expand the pool of businesses seeking to enhance the visibility of their being open.

Though a parklet ordinance was passed in 2015, it did not allow for commercial use and required that parklet applications be approved by City Council. The Temporary Parklet Program would allow business owners to serve food with the exception of alcohol, and in order to expedite the application process, it would only require that parklet applications be approved by administrative staff. The program would still follow the same insurance and license requirements as the 2015 ordinance, including ADA compliance.

Before passing the ordinance, City Council members required that all businesses applying for the Temporary Parklet Program comply with Gov. Greg Abbott’s safety recommendation guidelines to open Texas. If business owners fail to comply with safety guideline indoor and outdoor of their establishment, they will be issued a warning, and if the violations continue, the business will be subject to revocation of its parklet license.

In addition, the San Marcos Main Street Program has applied for a $10,000 grant from the National Main Street Center. If awarded, those funds will be used to help create parklets for businesses who have successfully applied and been granted a temporary parklet license.

By May 18, the San Marcos Main Street Program will know if it is a recipient of the National Main Street Center grant. If it is not, business owners will still receive assistance from city staff and community partners.

The parklets will be allowed until Aug. 15.