PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — As more communities look ahead to reopening, questions about the need for outdoor dining tents are popping up.

Placerville City leaders just passed a new rule that would require restaurants to remove the tents if they haven’t been used for more than a week.

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Right now, only outdoor dining is allowed in El Dorado County, but despite that, Placerville mayor Dennis Thomas said some tents are going completely unused for weeks.

“Some restaurants were closing and were leaving their facilities up instead of taking them down. Parking spaces are extremely valuable to not only our merchants but our restaurants downtown,” he said.

Mayor Thomas said with infections dropping and the busy summer months on the way, it’s time to start talking about the future of outdoor seating on city streets.

“Some of the restaurants would like to keep them, they like the atmosphere and there’s others who would like to have the parking spaces,” he said.

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So the message now is use it or lose it.

Placerville city leaders recently approved the new rule that if a tent is left empty for more than a week the business owner must take it down. They added it to the original ordinance that allows businesses to use city streets for seating.

Businesses closed for COVID-19 quarantines would be exempt.

El Dorado County is still under purple tier restrictions, which do not allow indoor dining. Some restaurants are choosing to do it anyway but Mayor Thomas said he doesn’t think that’s the reason why some tents are left empty. He said the issue is restaurants that have closed down.

“If there is indoor dining, it’s very limited and the tent space is needed to get their capacity to a place where they can be profitable,” he said.

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The mayor told CBS13 the conversation about the future of outdoor tents will be continued and will likely be addressed again before May.