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Businesses take advantage of San Diego County park space to stay open

Gyms, churches apply for fee-free permits
Dance Spot Pic.png
Posted at 6:14 AM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 10:01:46-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - About two dozen businesses and houses of worship are taking advantage of a new rule that waives permit fees at San Diego County parks.

According to the San Diego Parks and Rec Department, 14 fitness-related businesses and 12 houses of worship have been approved for permits to operate in county parks.

RELATED: County Board Approves Plan to Allow Businesses to Operate at County Parks

On Aug. 5, San Diego County Supervisors approved a motion to waive permit fees and streamline the permit process so that businesses and houses of worship could hold events and classes in parks.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who made the initial request, called it a "creative" way to provide flexibility and help those businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're trying to make it as easy as possible for businesses to survive during this difficult time," Jacob told ABC 10News on the day the rule passed. "This is just another way to do it."

Kaylee Kiff owns The Dance Spot in Chula Vista. She says she applied for the permit as soon as she heard about the program. She began holding classes at Otay Lakes Park just a few days later.

Kiff says it saved her business.

"This was the first time I really felt supported as a business," Kiff says of the new rule. "I understand why we shut down, and I was happy to do it. But when it got to the point where I would lose my business, I'm just looking for any lifeline I could get. The county really was that lifeline."

A county spokesperson didn't say how many more businesses or houses of worship have applied for the fee-free permits, but told ABC 10News other applications are in process for approval.

Since the county changed its rules, several other cities have followed suit, including San Diego, El Cajon, Coronado, La Mesa, and Oceanside. Businesses looking to operate in a park are encouraged to check with local governments for specific rules.