County Supervisor Jim Desmond proposes waiving restaurant permit fees

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SAN DIEGO – In an effort to help restaurants recover from the pandemic, County Supervisor Jim Desmond on Thursday proposed waiving permit fees for all San Diego County restaurants for the year.

Supervisor Desmond gathered in front of Phil’s BBQ in Rancho Bernardo, with several local restaurant owners to make the announcement. He said he plans to ask the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to vote on May 5 to waive all restaurant permit fees for fiscal year 2021-2022.

“In the last year, San Diego County restaurants have suffered greatly,” said Supervisor Desmond. “We’ve all seen permanently out of business signs on many of our favorite restaurants throughout San Diego County.”

A business permit can cost between $1,000 to $2,000 annually, and waiving the fees will provide some relief to the restaurant and food industry as they fight to stay in business, said Supervisor Desmond.

“There’s still going to be consumer confidence that has to get built in and that’s going to take time,” said Supervisor Desmond. “These restaurants have already taken a beating throughout last year and will continue this year until they can get back to being fully operational.”

Supervisor Desmond also emphasized waiving the permit fees will not compromise food safety.

“The county is responsible and will continue implementing the food safety program throughout the region which includes inspections, restaurant health ratings, gradings, foodborne illnesses,” said Desmond. “All those things that we inspect for, we’re going to continue inspecting at restaurants throughout the county but we’re going to waive the fees.”

According to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), business at some restaurants were down 60% compared to business prior to the start of the pandemic.

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