1 year later, businesses happy to keep their new outdoor spaces – FOX 5 San Diego

SAN DIEGO — It’s been one year since former Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s executive order to expand outdoor dining and retail spaces during the height of the pandemic, and many local businesses are happy to see the program extended.

Owners tell FOX 5 the temporary outdoor spaces have been a tremendous help. The staff at Landini’s Pizzeria in Little Italy Wednesday said the outdoor dining space helped them stay afloat during the pandemic.

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“It helps any which way you can,” Daniel Tarango told FOX 5.

Councilmember Marni von Wilpert said it’s not just a benefit to restaurants, but also many other industries, including retail and personal service.

“They’re also allowed to apply for outdoor operating permits,” Von Wilpert explained. “We have a lot of gymnasiums, for example, that are doing their workout classes in their parking lots. I too have done parking lot yoga.”

She helped spearhead the extension of the temporary outdoor spaces program, which allows them to continue until July 13, 2022.

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“The economic effects of COVID are still going to take time to recover from,” Von Wilpert said.

The city is also looking at possibly allowing outdoor spaces to become permanent through a program called Spaces as Places — though many of the details remain to be seen. Read more on the city’s website.

Meanwhile, businesses have until next Tuesday to make sure their outdoor spaces comply with all city, building and fire codes. 

“You’re always looking for parking down here in the concrete jungle,” Tarango said. “Hard to find parking, but it’s good for the restaurants — so much foot traffic around here, kind of pointless to have a car down here.”

To date there have been 435 approved temporary outdoor operating permits in San Diego and applications are still rolling in.

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