Restaurants in the Gaslamp on Fifth Avenue set up dining in the street. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego City Council’s Land Use & Housing Committee on Thursday approved Mayor Todd Gloria’s program to make some outdoor dining and retail spaces permanent.

The vote brings the program, spawned by the pandemic, closer to council approval. The “Spaces as Places” program will be presented before 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.

The aim, he said, is for the structures, some created on sidewalks and others in former parking spaces, 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 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the vote, businesses could conduct outdoor dining within the public right-of-way as dining establishments faced sharp curbs on indoor operations due to public health orders.

In May, the City Council granted an extension 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. It also establishes 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 department said.

– City News Service

Show comments