The San Diego City Council approved the proposal to expand outdoor dining and retail options during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, the Council voted unanimously to support Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan.

Faulconer issued an executive order that waived requirements for the temporary use of sidewalks.

This includes private parking lots as outdoor dining and retail venues to increase space for physical distancing.

The vote will allow businesses to use adjacent on-street parking to operate while also waiving a majority of permitting fees.

Easing The Restrictions

The newly approved proposal will pave the way to easing the restrictions imposed on restaurants and retail stores.

Faulconer claimed this is appropriate to business owner that endured during the lockdown. .

Faulconer said:

“Our local restaurant and retail owners have shown incredible resolve and resilience throughout this pandemic.

Many of those small businesses have been among the hardest hit.

San Diegans are ready to support them safely and responsibly,”

The report said, this will have an impact on up to 4,000 restaurants in San Diego that employs 55,000 individuals.

“The response we’ve seen to outdoor dining has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Before, securing an outdoor sidewalk cafe permit could cost businesses more than $1,000 and take several months to process.

Also, this ordinance will help reduce applicant costs and the review process.

Fighting Chance

City Councilman Chris Cate believed this ordinance will give small businesses a fighting chance.

About 98% of San Diego companies are small businesses.

Cate noted:

“Needless to say, the impact COVID-19 is having on our small, independent, and family- owned businesses is monumental.”

“Outdoor dining gives businesses a fighting chance to make it another day, and I applaud Mayor Faulconer for his innovative efforts.”

In addition, the ordinance also allocates $300,000 in further assistance by absorbing permitting costs for the first 500 businesses.

Part of the funding is specifically for outreach and education on the program for small and disadvantaged businesses, said report.

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