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SAN DIEGO — Mayor Kevin Faulconer toured San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood Tuesday, touting the city’s permitting process which has allowed area restaurants to serve customers outdoors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the city, more than 200 local businesses currently hold a temporary outdoor dining permit. The permitting process was implemented as a response by local leaders to ease the financial burden on businesses ordered to close indoors this year as the pandemic struck San Diego County.

“The city of San Diego is here to help, to support, to cut the red tape,” Faulconer said. “We want to keep you open in the new normal.”

Local restaurants now can serve customers indoors after the county recently qualified for some restrictions to be lifted under the state’s new tiered health guidelines system. Under the state’s rules, they can fill up to 25% capacity indoors or 100 people, depending on which number is lower.

But communities such as Carlsbad, Encinitas and Pacific Beach, among others, have responded to the pandemic by putting into place programs to allow more flexibility to serve customers outdoors.

Several restaurants in Little Italy said outdoor dining has helped them.

“We are now operating at 75% — it’s fantastic,” Buon Appetito owner Salvatore Caniglia said.

Caniglia added, “Now that we can make use of the sidewalk and street, it almost seems like we regain some of the capacity we once had.” 

More information on the city’s permitting process can be found at