San Diego Approves Permanent Outdoor Dining

The city's new regulations pave the way for making the pandemic experiment a permanent fixture.

Read Time: 1 minute

November 1, 2021, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

As Lori Weisberg reports, the San Diego City Council approved new regulations that will make permanent the city's outdoor dining program, started during the pandemic to support struggling restaurants as COVID-19 forced businesses to adjust to social distancing guidelines. The program "will allow restaurant owners to extend their outdoor seating onto sidewalks, and in metered and unmetered parking spaces in front of their venues as long as they pay a fee, a requirement that up until now has not been imposed."

The new program, called Spaces as Places, will start next July and "include a number of design and safety regulations that will permit restaurants to install platforms for seating along unpainted, yellow or green curbs as long as they are at least 20 feet away from an intersection, street corner, alley or driveway." The new regulations only permit outdoor dining on streets with a maximum speed limit of 30 miles per hour.

Repurposing curb space and parking lots for outdoor dining has become a hallmark of the COVID-19 pandemic as restaurants looked for creative ways to continue serving customers. Cities all over the U.S. scrambled to implement outdoor dining regulations and permitting. Now, as the pandemic and temporary outdoor dining programs wind down, city leaders must decide on the future of 'al fresco streets.'

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 in The San Diego Union-Tribune

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