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Enforcement of amended San Diego sidewalk vending ordinance to begin Friday

Sidewalk vendors in Ocean Beach sell an array of different items along the boardwalk, Jan. 13, 2023.
Jacob Aere
Sidewalk vendors in Ocean Beach sell an array of different items along the boardwalk, Jan. 13, 2023.

Enforcement of an updated sidewalk vending ordinance will begin Friday, following clarification of First Amendment concerns and impounding measures.

Unanimously amended by the San Diego City Council in February, the ordinance "provides clarity on which vending activities are safeguarded under the First Amendment as free speech, and impounding measures for rogue vendors that fail to comply with the health and safety regulations," according to a statement from Councilwoman Jennifer Campbell's office.

Campbell said the amendments will "protect permitted vendors who comply with all city requirements and help eliminate unlawful vending activities."


Campbell represents many of the city's beach communities in District 2 and pushed the law forward.

San Diego Police Department officers and park rangers performed outreach to vendors this week to inform them of the pending enforcement activities.

Mayor Todd Gloria said Campbell's work to bring the amended ordinance forward "helps make our regulations and expectations clear and ensures San Diego's public spaces serve all of us."

In February 2023, San Diego law enforcement personnel began enforcing the city's ordinance in beach areas, following a similar enforcement step-up in the Gaslamp Quarter in December.

The City Council first approved the ordinance in May 2022, bringing San Diego into compliance with state Senate Bill 946, a California law that de- criminalized sidewalk vending statewide and set parameters on how cities could impose regulations.


Vendors and pushcart operators must pay $38 annually for a permit to sell their wares in San Diego.

City staff initially recommended the new permit fee be as high as $230 per business, but negotiations with council members brought that number down to the same as a business tax certificate in the city.

Food vendors are also required to obtain a San Diego County Health Permit and Food Handler Card.

Since the ordinance was written, vending permits have been issued to local vendors selling jewelry, clothing, apparel, artisan products, home decor, candles, fine art collectibles, novelty items, food products and other items.

The ordinance also sets up parameters for where vendors can operate — for example, 15 feet from another vendor, 50 feet from a major transit stop and 100 feet from any sidewalk or street closure.

More information can be found at

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