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San Diego City Starts Business Outreach About Outdoor Dining Safety Requirements

Outdoor dining in front of Rustic Root on Fifth Avenue on June 19, 2020, the ...

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: Outdoor dining in front of Rustic Root on Fifth Avenue on June 19, 2020, the first weekend Fifth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter was closed for outdoor dining in a bid to help restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

An outreach effort by the City of San Diego will begin providing education to business owners, reminding them about safety requirements for those providing outdoor dining and retail operations, it was announced Wednesday.

In order to expand business and dining into the public right of way and private parking lots during the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are required to obtain a Temporary Outdoor Business Operations permit. Requirements for the construction of decks, platforms and temporary structures are outlined as part of the guidance available to business owners seeking a permit.

On Dec. 15, 2020, CAL FIRE issued a bulletin reaffirming statewide fire prevention regulations for the use of tents, awnings or other fabric enclosures for outdoor dining. Beginning the week of Feb. 1, 2021, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department personnel will be visiting businesses to provide informational handouts outlining the safety requirements.

Notifications also are being sent to permit holders regarding their outdoor operations.

"San Diego's small businesses have been our focus through this pandemic, and we will work alongside those businesses that are permitted to conduct business outdoors so they can continue to do so safely and responsibly," said Christina Bibler, director of the city's economic development department. "We will help them navigate the process with care and grace if any changes are needed so they can be successful."

The department is hosting a webinar Tuesday to help further educate business owners about the requirements. City staff will also be available to answer questions.

Options are available to help dining and retail outlets with space constraints expand their operations outdoors to comply with safety protocols and COVID-19 public health orders. These options include construction specifications to expand into the public right of way.

Temporary outdoor dining requirements and photos of compliant outdoor expansion projects are available by visiting sandiego.gov/TOB.

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