San Diego businesses prepare for compliance checks on outdoor dining structures

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SAN DIEGO — Businesses in San Diego are preparing their outdoor dining structures to go along with the city’s fire and safety regulations as compliance checks begin Monday.

A list of fire and safety regulations will need to be followed in order for restaurants to keep their outdoor dining structures. 

As San Diego County braved through months of a tier system, outdoor dining structures became part of the new normal.

San Diego Dining Group Marketing Director Sara Arjmand says several restaurants poured thousands of dollars into their outside structures. 

“We have spent minimum 25 to 30 (thousand) on each,” Arjmand said. 

Arjmand says the safety regulations were not outlined from the start.  

“There was no guidance on what you could build or what not,” she said.  “To lose that money so quickly – during the winter time it’s coming up ahead – it’s going to be detrimental to the restaurant.” 

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said the city is committed to helping businesses retain outdoor operations while working with them to make it safer in the long run

“We strongly encourage businesses to use this time to determine how to bring their outdoor dining structures into compliance with the necessary fire and safety regulations,” Gloria said.

Arjmand says with the delta variant spreading, more customers are choosing to eat outside. However, with the city’s new regulations, businesses will now be more limited.

“Someone needs to walk the streets and see based on the bullet points they have given, nobody can comply,” Arjmand said.  “So why don’t we work on those bullet points, let’s make it more convenient, lenient on the business owners.”

Outdoor dining has been extended through next July in the city.

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