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New restrictions for outdoor dining in San Diego take effect July 13

Restaurant owners need to apply for a new 'Spaces as Places' permit with the City of San Diego.

SAN DIEGO — The rules for outdoor dining are about to change in San Diego.

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

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

Last week, letters went out to business owners reminding them they need to apply for these new permits.

According to Chris Larson, project coordinator for the program, so far the city has only received 12 applications for permanent permits. He said the number of temporary permits that were given out is around 500.

"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.

He said during the pandemic, the goal was to keep restaurants open and businesses running. Now that restrictions have eased, the city will be taking a closer look at these outdoor dining structures to make sure they're up to code and are safe.

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.

"A lot of structures built during the last couple of years have overheard roofs and electrical wiring, that will no longer be something allowed under the permanent program," he said. 

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. 

WATCH RELATED: Outdoor dining in San Diego is here to stay (for now) (May 2021)

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