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SAN DIEGO — San Diego City Council unanimously approved Tuesday an ordinance extension that will allow restaurants and businesses to continue operating outdoors into next year.

The council first approved an ordinance on July 14, 2020 that allowed for outdoor dining and retail in the public right of way during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension of interim urgency ordinances will allow the city’s Temporary Outdoor Business Operation permit program to continue.

The future of the outdoor dining structures was uncertain with the permits for all restaurants set to expire July 13 and those for other businesses set to end Aug. 3. Tuesday’s approval extends the expiration date for all permitted outdoor operations through July 13, 2022.

“While this program was launched as a temporary solution to a devastating situation, we have seen the benefits of allowing expanded outdoor dining and shopping in our communities,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “As a city, we are committed to exploring ways to make this a more permanent feature beyond the pandemic, creating an environment where businesses can thrive and our residents and visitors can enjoy what San Diego has to offer.”

Many restaurants invested in the large outdoor structures to comply with COVID-19 restrictions while still offering on-site dining during the pandemic. The Little Italy Restaurant Association applied as a group for a temporary permit allowing them to build “parklets” on city streets and parking spaces.