SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Indoor dining at restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries will close July 7 for at least three weeks, after the county remained on the state’s monitoring list for three consecutive days due to the region’s high number of COVID-19 cases.
Outdoor/patio dining is still permitted until 10 p.m., but patrons must leave the premises by 11 p.m. Also, pickup, delivery and drive-thru can still occur.
In an effort to help the San Diego restaurant industry, Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Tuesday will sign an emergency executive order that will waive regulatory requirements to help restaurants expand their service outdoors.
It's a move that would keep restaurants in business while increasing physical distance between employees and customers.
"This is a need for us as a business owner and for customers to feel safe," said North Park Cori Trattoria Italian Restaurant owner, Accurisio Lota.
Statement from Mayor Faulconer:
"The City is finalizing a new ordinance for Council approval that will cut fees and streamline permits to make it easier for businesses to operate outdoors. Given that the state’s new shutdown order has an immediate impact on local businesses, on Tuesday I’ll be signing an emergency Executive Order that will waive regulatory requirements and help restaurants expand their service outdoors, increasing physical distance between employees and customers.”
Prior to the mayor's announcement, neighborhood non-profit business associations expressed frustration in getting Faulconer's emergency ordinance passed that would expand outdoor dining.
"This isn't something brand new, this is something they need to expedite," said Ben Nicholls, Hillcrest Business Association Executive Director.
In May, Faulconer started working on an emergency ordinance that would help cut some of the red tape and waive the costly fees to allow street, parking and sidewalk dining.
North Park Mainstreet is pulling it's proposal to close 30th Street and allow street dining.
"The closing of the street in our opinion is not a safe option. People perceive that as an opportunity to gather and mingle and mosey in the area, that is not what we are looking to do," said North Park Main Street Executive Director, Angela Landsberg.
Instead, like Hillcrest, they have applied to support businesses who want to expand seating in public parking spaces known as parklets and parking lots.
"Get the message across that restaurants are opened and the city needs to support them. The city needs to give them that outdoor space because that is for everyone’s best interest," said Landsberg.
Meantime, the city is still working on an ordinance to present to the city council for approval. It was postponed in June until the July 7 City Council meeting.
Councilman Chris Ward who represents Hillcrest and North Park released a statement:
“The work of Gaslamp and Little Italy has been in line with a community desire to create more space for people in all of our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Ward. “As restaurants face another round of indoor restrictions, my office will work with D3 businesses to find and support opportunities for the public to safely take over the streets for outdoor dining. Outdoor dining can provide San Diegans a safe way to enjoy a meal and allow restaurants to recover from the devastating financial impact of COVID-19.”
When outside the home, San Diegans should do the following to protect themselves and others:
- Practice good hand hygiene and sanitation
- Keep six feet apart
- Wear a face covering
- Avoid crowded places
- Stay home if they are sick