SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Outdoor dining became essential during the pandemic, with many San Diego restaurants expanding into the sidewalks and streets to accommodate customers.
But the temporary permits that allowed them to do so are expiring and the deadline to apply for new ones is July 13.
But along with the new permits come new rules.
According to the city, restaurants that have so-called streetaries, spaces built out onto the road, will now have to pay an exclusive use fee.
Depending on the location, the city says that could be anywhere from 10 to 30 dollars per square foot.
David Roger with Fillipi's Pizza Grotto in Little Italy says their fee would work out to about $20,000 a year.
But the new rules also state that if the business opens their space to the public, and clearly posts signs saying so, they don't have to pay the fee.
In other words, anyone could come and sit in the space and they don't have to buy a thing.
Fillipi's is opting to do that and says that takes the cost down from $20,000 to around $2,500 -$3,500.
But Roger wonders what issues could arise, and also says the new restrictions come at a time when many people are still only comfortable eating outdoors.
As of Wednesday, a city spokesperson said they've received 15 applications, with more being processed.
If businesses haven't applied for a permit by the deadline they're supposed to start immediately making plans to take down their structures.
As for enforcement, the city says businesses that don't comply could face fines.