Mayor Todd Gloria’s Spaces as Places program received approval from the City of San Diego’s Land Use & Housing Committee. This passage moves the program for outdoor structures one step closer to City Council approval.
“San Diegans have made clear how much they love the outdoor dining and spaces that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic, and I have been committed to finding a way for them to stay,” Gloria said. “This program will create an avenue for temporary outdoor structures constructed in response to the pandemic to become permanent installations, ensuring long-term options that are safe, equitable and accessible for everyone.”
On Aug. 4, 2020, the San Diego City Council approved an emergency ordinance allowing Temporary Outdoor Business Operations (TOBOs) as an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This allowed businesses to conduct outdoor dining within the public right-of-way to allow dining establishments to continue to operate when indoor operations were limited due to public health orders. In May, the City Council granted an extension on TOBOs through July 13, 2022.
Spaces as Places is a comprehensive program designed by the City’s Planning Department to transition temporary spaces from an emergency response to a permanent program with established design and safety standards. Supporting businesses in traditionally underserved communities, the Spaces as Places program will offer a variety of options for quality outdoor places that promote dining, walking, biking, public artwork and other enjoyable public interaction.
Spaces as Places provides flexibility for businesses, improves access for people with all abilities, increases opportunities for more enjoyable pedestrian travel, and helps foster social interaction and community building. The Spaces as Places proposal will be brought to the City Council for adoption in October.