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New outdoor dining rules in San Diego begin July 13

Restaurant owners who want to continue operating their makeshift patio spaces must apply for a new Spaces as Places permit by Wednesday, July 13.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Wednesday marks a key deadline for restaurant owners in the city of San Diego when it comes to those temporary permits.

Restaurant owners who want to continue operating their makeshift patio spaces must apply for a new Spaces as Places permit by July 13.

In October, the city council agreed to make the temporary outdoor dining program permanent.

According to city records obtained by CBS 8 through a public records request, only 19 restaurants, some of which are located inside food courts, have applied for the city’s “Spaces as Places” permits. That is less that 4% of the 500 restaurants or so that installed the makeshift outdoor dining areas during the COVID shutdown.

Spaces as Places map below:

In a June 1 statement, the project coordinator for the city, Chris Larson told CBS 8 that restaurants were allowed to build outdoor dining areas to help them cope with the pandemic.

"Just because a business has a temporary outdoor operation permit, doesn’t mean their location or what they’ve constructed will qualify to meet the requirements for the Spaces as Places permit," said Larson.

According to Larson, the structures will need to be wheelchair accessible.

"There’s going to be requirements to have access to the platform every ten feet. There are going to be requirements that the platforms don’t continue for half a block or a block so that there’s the ability for emergency services to move from the street to the sidewalk similar to how they would for a car," he added.

Restaurant owners will also be required to pay new fees. The fees vary based on where the business is located. On average, owners could pay anywhere between $10 to $30 per square foot for one year. Larson said that doesn't include inspection fees. 

The permit is a two-year permit.

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