The restaurant-relief ordinance, initially proposed by District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer last year, underwent a one-year trial in November 2011 to gauge the success of the program for restaurant owners and the community at large, including police officers who would otherwise need to be hired for law enforcement in heavy live entertainment areas around nightclubs and late-night bars.
“After a one-year trial period, the police department and restaurant owners agreed that ‘Restaurant Relief’ has been successful and recommended it become permanent,” said Faulconer. “This ordinance will continue to save businesses money and let the police department focus on important public safety needs. I’m very proud the City Council approved my proposal to keep City Hall out of the kitchen and let restaurants serve and entertain their customers.”
Entertainment permits to allow amplified music, even as simple as the occasional acoustic guitarist, can range from $1,500 to $4,000 per year without the relief program — a burdensome cost for some local restaurateurs trying to draw customers, said Faulconer.
“In today’s slow economy, restaurateurs continuously search for ways to reduce costs,” said Mike Morton, Jr., president of the San Diego Chapter of the California Restaurant Association, which took part in the task-force group behind the program. “This new policy will greatly benefit restaurants that have struggled during this economic downturn and allow them to focus on what’s important — job creation and opportunities for growth.”
Restaurants exempt from entertainment permits include only those that are closed between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., that do not charge admission or which promote customer dancing and do not require a drink minimum.