Letter to the editor: Keeping the tents up in Mendocino


24 thoughts on “Letter to the editor: Keeping the tents up in Mendocino

  1. I support this business owner’s request. I enjoy outside eating and know many people who feel safer eating outdoors than in. Let’s not regulate these folks out of business.

  2. I agree with this letter, and a.ways choose the outdoor dining options at Good Life Cafe, Patterson’s, Mendocino Cafe, Little River Inn, and other restaurants with tents. I would hate to see them be forced to remove the outdoor seating.

  3. The local establishments that were able to stay open through the pandemic by providing safe outdoor eating spaces helped the center of this community hold during a time when it was in peril of falling apart. COVID’s next variant, BA.2.86, is here. There is no vaccine available here yet for this variant, it’s surging, and winter is coming. The investments represented by these tents are considerable – let’s not assume our valued local establishments could afford, or would be inclined to, invest in the resiliency of our community this way a second time. They’re tired and some are just hanging on as it is. Please don’t let the vanity of a few force such a foolish decision in the name of aesthetics at the expense of public commerce and public safety. One day the tents will come down. This is not the time.

  4. Please, please let them stay up. Many of us elder locals could never dine out again, if they were taken down. No, Covid is not over, especially for older people and immune compromised.
    They’re not defacing–they make the town look festive, like the music festival tent. And they look really good when you consider that they’re providing a great service not only to business but to citizens, who are clearly in favor of keeping them. I mean, where does the Historical Board get off, imposing its will on an entire community? it’s not like we’re asking for a high rise on the headlands.

  5. Yes! A beautifully written and rational case has been made here. We visit your area once a month and eating outside is one of our top priorities. The different restaurants have done an amazing job of converting outside spaces into lovely dining rooms. Support these innovative and brilliant efforts to meet the challenges of the times. Kudos to ALL of these wonderful businesses.

  6. i’m not coming to visit Mendocino to spend my money unless they have safe spaces for us to visit and eat. Healthy alive people and steady income for folx over aesthetics! Why do ‘Karens’ always have so much power?

  7. I completely agree with the business owner! We were just in Mendocino last week for our 5th wedding anniversary and stayed at the Seagull Inn. We dined at Patterson Pub several times and the Mendocino Cafe. In both restaurants we sat outside underneath the large, spacious and open air tents. They provide an inviting atmosphere as well as protection from bees or bugs sensing food. Both restaurants were full indoors and it was very accommodating to be seated as we were hungry! Though it was chilly at night the tents provided a canapy of a warmer dining experience.

    • The owner of the seagull is on the mendocino historical review board. Hopefully you’ll let him know how much you enjoyed the tents. He is one of the people who seem opposed to them for some silly reason. Also, please send a letter to the board of supes in mendocino and let them know how you feel.

  8. Outdoor eating is the way to go, I always eat outside, fresh air is better than not. It would be a mistake to take down a very functional and useful part of an otherwise stunning town. I garuantee you these aren’t people who live here year round, or have ever worked in the service industry.

  9. I absolutely agree that the tents must be allowed up for diners! When I come to Mendocino for the day, I have been grateful to be able to dine safely and comfortably outdoors under the tents. Please do not allow our local businesses and customers to suffer under unreasonable requirements!

  10. Please attend the board of supervisors meeting in mendocino on September 12, 9am at saint anthonys church to let your voices be heard. While all of these amazing comments are wonderful, the people who need to hear this aren’t on this thread and need to be made aware of how many people support the outdoor dining. Please write in, call in, attend the meeting on the 12th.
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    • I fully support the use of tents in Mendocino Village. The California Building Code has provisions in section 108 and in Appendix Chapter 31 for permitting temporary membrane structures (tents). The building official can allow the use of temporary structures for up to 180 days, and grant extensions. The Tempoary Building Permit process is routinely used at sports venues, fairs, carnivals, etc. The tent fabric covering must approved as being ignition resistant by the State Fire Marshal.

      As a retired building official, I recommend that the following items should be considered when approving the use of tents for commercial purposes:

      Will the tent location block or impede existing emergency exits and passageways serving the existing building?

      Is the tent accessible to persons with disabilities (ADA)?

      Any electrical or mechanical (heating, fans, etc.) installations must be code compliant.

      Emergency exit passageways from within the tent must remain open and unobstructed.

      Will the additional occupant load (number of folks using the tent) require an increase in the size of existing restrooms?


      Scott Ward

  11. Keep the existing tents! Having recently survived Covid, I wouldn’t even dream of drinking/eating out anywhere but in a well-ventilated outdoor space. Much gratitude & credit to our local workforce whose sacrifices sustained us before vaccines were available. We owe them. I have no objection to the esthetics. History evolves as it is recorded. Pix of the tents will become an iconic reminder of this particular slice of Mendo Town’s history.

  12. Restaurant owners found a creative way to keep serving the local and tourist community. They spent a lot of money, time and trouble to do so. And now a very few entitled members of our community want them to tear it all down, again at their expense. Truly, no good deed goes unpunished.

  13. I support this restaurant owner’s request to retain the tents on their premises. As a concerned member of the community, I believe it is necessary to strike a balance between regulatory compliance and accommodating the desires of the local community, especially when it involves simple and harmless matters.

    Firstly, I want to highlight the overwhelming support from the community in favor of the restaurant tents. These structures have become an advantageous accessory for the town that enables folks with compromised health and pet owners an ability to dine out in a social environment that also expands restaurants business, especially in adverse weather.Not only does this vantage attract locals and visitors alike, it promotes mental health with it’s versatility and inviting atmosphere for those often confined to their homes during flu season. They are a draw. Removing them would not only undermine the ambiance and appeal of the area but also adversely impact the business’s viability.

    Furthermore, it is essential to consider the economic implications of the decision. The restaurant industry has faced significant challenges in recent years, and the pandemic has further exacerbated their struggles. Local businesses like the restaurant in question have been working tirelessly to adapt to these unprecedented circumstances. By allowing them to continue operating with the tents, we are not only supporting their survival but also safeguarding local jobs and contributing to the overall economic growth of our community.

    While I understand the need for some regulatory oversight to maintain order and safety, it is equally important to avoid unnecessary overreach in matters that pose no harm or risk. The restaurant owner has demonstrated a commitment to compliance by adhering to health and safety regulations and ensuring the tents meet all necessary standards. Moreover, they have fostered a strong relationship with the community, actively engaging with residents and addressing any concerns promptly.

    In conclusion, I urge you to consider the sentiments of the community and support the restaurant owner and our local citizens requests to retain the tents. By doing so, we can maintain the unique advantage these tents afford, bolster local businesses, and demonstrate a commitment to fostering a thriving and inclusive community.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter. I truly hope that the Board of Supervisors and Historical review board will carefully consider the interests of the community and make a decision that reflects the desires of the people it serves.

  14. the tents are beautiful and aesthetic and provide a safe and fun place to dine. removing them would be a huge mistake for all the reasons pointed out by others.

  15. As an olderish person with a slight lung condition living up in Eureka, we’ve chosen to not travel or frequent restaurants or similar gatherings of large numbers of people for over three years, COVID risk being the reason. Just a couple days ago, I was exploring online some possible options for a long overdue visit back to Mendocino, and seeing here that there actually are outdoor dining options is a big plus favoring the small risk of a trip. COVID IS still lurking, in its several variations, and the wonderful food options having always been part of the draw to Mendocino, it encourages me, as a tourist, to feel that an added measure of safety is still being considered worthwhile – it goes into my plus column on whether to come back to Mendocino or not. As everyone knows, those tourist dollars coming to the area, Eureka included, put food on everyone’s table and pay everyone’s bills – business owners and employees alike. These are strange times in many ways, and we must be willing to adapt to survive. I haven’t seen these tents, but I can guarantee they won’t diminish my opinion of the beautiful town and citizens of Mendocino in any way. Just a few words on the soapbox from an “outsider” who loves your town and area, one who brings money to spend with you, and who appreciates any added level of avoidance of that nasty virus that has changed all our lives and isn’t done with us just yet.

  16. Well written Teddy Winslow!! This is a very fair and well supported letter expressing the need to keep the tents up and available. In addition to all the points provided by Teddy, I personally agree with and really love outdoor covered seating when offered since indoor seating is often too loud to enjoy conversation along with your meal. I truly hope the Board hears and honors the pleas to keep the tents up.

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