The City of Oakland announced it will waive all fees and is streamlining permitting for business’ use of public rights-of-way, including sidewalks and parking lanes, to align with Alameda County’s updated Shelter-in-Place Order allowing outdoor dining and other merchant activities. The goal is to spur equitable economic recovery by making it easier for retailers, restaurants and others to allow businesses to use larger portions of the sidewalk, parking lanes and streets. The program strives to support local restaurants and retailers, support Oakland residents, improve traffic safety and ensure and advance racial equity. Flex Streets will be implemented in phases starting with sidewalk and parking lane areas. Oakland recognizes not all streets and neighborhoods are the same, and staff are developing options for businesses to safely extend their operations and physically distance their customers. Oakland will post signs around commercial areas notifying community members and businesses of the program and soliciting feedback for areas of improvement and is surveying the business community on how streets and sidewalks can be used.
Flex Streets also includes an expedited permitting process for mobile food vendors to help some of Oakland’s smallest micro-businesses that are often owned by low-income people of color to help them operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, Flex Streets removes the limit on the number of mobile food vending permits available, allows vending from multiple locations, and eliminates the mobile food vending permitting fee.