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Economy

Council Committee Approves 'Spaces As Places' Outdoor Dining Program

An outdoor dining parklet at Matteo in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego, Calif. Aug. 3, 2021.
KPBS Staff
An outdoor dining parklet at Matteo in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego, Calif. Aug. 3, 2021.

The San Diego City Council's Land Use & Housing Committee Thursday approved Mayor Todd Gloria's program to permanently approve some outdoor dining and retail spaces, bringing the program one step closer to full council approval.

Gloria's "Spaces as Places" program will head to the full City Council in October.

"San Diegans have made clear how much they love the outdoor dining and spaces that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic, and I have been committed to finding a way for them to stay," Gloria said. "This program will create an avenue for temporary outdoor structures constructed in response to the pandemic to become permanent installations, ensuring long-term options that are safe, equitable and accessible for everyone."

On Aug. 4, 2020, the council approved an emergency ordinance allowing temporary outdoor business operations as an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This allowed businesses to conduct outdoor dining within the public right-of-way to allow dining establishments to continue to operate when indoor operations were limited due to public health orders.

In May, the City Council granted an extension on TOBOs through July 13, 2022.

Spaces as Places was designed by the city's Planning Department and intended to transition temporary spaces from an emergency response to a permanent program with established design and safety standards.

"Supporting businesses in traditionally underserved communities, the Spaces as Places program will offer a variety of options for quality outdoor places that promote dining, walking, biking, public artwork and other enjoyable public interaction," a statement from the planning department said.