The temporary outdoor dining areas that popped up on San Diego sidewalks, streets, and parking lots throughout the pandemic, prompted by ever-changing regulations for restaurants, will be allowed to stay up for now while the city develops a program that could allow them to become permanent.
On Tuesday, San Diego city leaders voted to continue an ordinance that was put in place last summer to allow local businesses to use these makeshift spaces to serve customers. Originally set to expire this summer, it’s now been extended until July 13, 2022.
Spanning community-wide efforts in neighborhoods like Little Italy and the Gaslamp to individual parklets, the city has issued more than 400 outdoor permits since the start of the pandemic. Under the extension, the structures must adhere to permit guidelines and be up to code or be subject to fines or enforcement.
The additional outdoor dining areas, which have been a lifesaver for many restaurants as they recover, may eventually become permanent. The City of San Diego’s Planning Department is currently putting together a new program called “Spaces as Places” that would transition the temporary spaces to permanent ones, with plans to bring the proposal to City Council for approval this fall.