Barber Nicolas Downs cuts a customers’ hair from the sidewalk in front of his barber shop in Solana Beach. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The San Diego City Council voted Tuesday to allow more businesses to operate outdoors in private parking lots, including gyms and hair salons, as well as houses of worship.

The emergency ordinance allows those businesses and faith-based groups to join restaurants and retail businesses which have been allowed to apply for permits to operate in an outdoor capacity.

“Mom-and-pop shops, especially in communities of concern, are struggling to keep up with changing rules despite doing everything they can just to survive this economic crisis,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “Whether it’s allowing a barber to set up shop in a parking lot or providing a grant that helps a restaurant make payroll, we know small changes can make a big difference between closing for now or closing for good.”

Public health experts continue to promote outdoor settings and physical distancing as two key tools to help slow the spread of COVID-19 while allowing the economy to reopen.

The expanded ordinance allows the following services to operate on private parking lots, sidewalks and on-street parking:

— personal services: hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and massage establishments;

— gyms, physical fitness centers and instructional studios; and

— places of religious assembly.

“I am honored to co-sponsor creative solutions like this, which will help businesses get back up and running in a safe manner,” said City Councilman Chris Cate, chair of the Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee. “Employees can return to work and families can again participate in programs and support our businesses, if they so desire.”

The council also voted to allocate $700,000 of the city’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds toward businesses in historically underserved communities.

— City News Service

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