Cheetahs, an adult business
Cheetahs, an adult business in San Diego that requires police regulation. File photo

The San Diego City Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance Tuesday deferring fees and renewing permits for businesses requiring police regulation for 120 days in light of economic slowdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ordinance would allow the more than 2,900 businesses in San Diego which require police regulation to defer late fees for police permits and to extend those permits for businesses renewing between April 1 and June 30.

They would have an additional 120 days from their renewal dates to pay.

Businesses or occupations that require police regulation include adult entertainment businesses, pawn shops, firearm dealers, pool rooms, massage therapists and tobacco retailers. Costs of the permits range from $25 per event for going-out-of-business sales all the way up to $9,320 per year for outcall nude entertainment businesses.

On March 30, Mayor Kevin Faulconer directed the Office of the City Treasurer to defer all business tax certificates for 120 days, but that left businesses that need police regulation in a strange position.

Those businesses or occupations generally must acquire a business tax certificate as well, so while one permit was deferred for shuttered businesses, one bill was still coming due.

Councilman Scott Sherman gave comment on the ordinance before voting yes, stating that he wanted the city to enforce permits equitably.

“If I can’t open my doors for three months, I shouldn’t be charged by the city for three months,” he said. “It’s a basic fairness issue.”

According to city staff data, the loss of revenue due to the deferments will amount to $157,844.

Businesses and residences still need police permits for burglary or panic alarms.

— City News Service