CHICO, Calif. -

Businesses are offering bargains to get you to shop at their stores.  The city of Chico is doing the same thing.  Tuesday night the Chico City Council approved parking meter forgiveness in the downtown area on the next three Fridays and the Monday before Christmas.

It's not considered free parking.  You can still get a ticket if your meter has been expired for a lengthy period of time.  For example, you could still face a citation if you park in a 30 minute spot for 90 minutes.

But if you're a few minutes late putting more coins in the meter, the city will let it go.  It's a way to encourage shoppers to stay downtown and spend more money there.

Anna Simcox, the owner of Art Etc. on West 3rd Street said it's a good idea.
 
"When someone is looking at their watch when they're here in the store, I think that's probably the biggest problem we have," said Simcox.  "Because when you do something at Art Etc., it's usually designing a frame and it takes some time."

Parking meter forgiveness is only in effect for the next three Fridays before Christmas (Dec. 6, 13 and 20) and Monday, December 23.