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SAN DIEGO — A new executive order by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer will expand the city’s push to keep businesses and other gathering spaces open by moving them outside, as renewed coronavirus restrictions threaten to deepen the economic downturn.

Faulconer says a new executive order will give thousands of businesses and places of worship the option to operate in private parking lots by speeding up the permitting process and waiving certain requirements. The mayor and city council have passed similar measures to expand outdoor dining and retail shopping.

As public health officials learn more about the virus, leaders have placed an emphasis on moving any necessary gatherings outdoors, where COVID-19 spreads less easily. About 80% of the state, including San Diego, has been required to close indoor areas at fitness centers, churches, entertainment centers, personal care services (including barber shops and salons) and many offices.

Faulconer said in order for some of the personal care businesses to move outdoors, the state would need to modify its guidelines for the industry. Less than an hour later, Gov. Gavin Newsom confirmed that his administration was updating its guidance to make it clear what those services can and cannot do outdoors.

Monday’s news conference was held at Three Treasures Cultural Arts Society, a Miramar-area community center offering dance and Kung Fu classes, which plans to offer a gym in its parking lot under the new rules. The mayor was joined by Councilman Chris Cate, who has been a vocal advocate for giving businesses more flexibility to keep operating during the pandemic.

You can learn more about the city’s programs for businesses by clicking here.

In addition to conducting business outdoors, scientists urge anyone who goes out in public during the pandemic to wear a mask and maintain physical distance from others.