San Diego

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Temporary Outdoor Business Operation Permit

The Temporary Outdoor Business Operation Permit supports the recovery of businesses devastated by economic impacts from COVID-19 by helping businesses with limited footprints operate in outdoor settings adjacent to their businesses and get closer to the sunshine. The goal is to help dining and retail outlets with space constraints expand operations outdoors so they can cost-effectively implement safety, health and distancing protocols.

This permit allows for the temporary use of a street, sidewalk or parking lane for business.


Traffic barricades indicating a closed street in downtown San Diego


A dining table and chairs on the sidewalk outside a restaurant

Parking Lane

Temporary outdoor dining on a parking lane in downtown San Diego

Note: Most operations conducted within private properties - including privately-owned parking lots - are NOT required to obtain this permit.

  • Other City permits may be required if tents or structures are constructed or placed to support operations.
  • Unless the City Council votes on an extension, permits for all restaurants expire on Aug. 3, 2021, and other business services on Sept. 14, 2021. 

Who Can Apply

The following businesses with an active business tax certificate and all other applicable license or permits may apply:

  • Eating and drinking establishments
  • Retail and wholesale businesses
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Instructional studios
  • Personal services, including hair and nail salons
  • Massage establishments
  • Religious assembly

Plan Your Project

The permit temporarily allows for the expansion of outdoor dining and retail on to the public right-of-way, private parking lots or public spaces. Please note, most operations conducted within private properties - including privately-owned parking lots- are not required to obtain this permit. Other City permits may be needed if tents or structures are constructed or placed to support operations.

Issuance of the temporary permit is subject to new guidelines or mandates for public gatherings and social distancing in accordance with the County of San Diego public health orders and instructions from the California Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As with all guidance that relates to COVID-19 response, permit requirements will be regularly evaluated or updated to respond to any changes to ensure public health and safety.

Interactive Temporary Outdoor Restaurant Locations Map

Screen shot of Interactive Temporary Outdoor Restaurant Locations Map

The Temporary Outdoor Restaurant Locations Map shows:

  • If your location is within a Business Improvement District;
  • Temporary Outdoor Business Permit locations;
  • Street closures; and 
  • Additional resources to research your application.

Visit the map frequently to view the latest updates.


All permitted locations may be inspected.

Permitted Hours and Days of Operation

Outdoor operations may occur during normal business hours, according to San Diego Municipal Code and other state and local requirements. 


All applications will be considered. However, a permit may not be granted in areas where there is current or planned work in the public right-of-way, transit services or does not comply with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.  Questions? Ask an ADA expert. 

Permit Length

The interim urgency ordinance enacts temporary changes to the San Diego Municipal Code that allow applicants to operate temporarily on the public rights-of-way until social distancing and federal, state and local mandates expire or are waived.

Examples of Compliant Outdoor Expansion

View Photo Gallery of Compliant Outdoor Expansion

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

View other PDF icon Temporary Outdoor Business Operation Permit FAQs

Please continue if you are applying for the temporary use of a street, sidewalk or parking lane.

You do NOT need to apply for a permit to conduct business outdoors on private property, including privately-owned parking lots.

Does your proposal include the use of a platform?

NOTE: Platforms are NOT required to conduct business outdoors.

Do you have a Right-of-Way permit for the use of a platform?

If No, you will be directed to the Right-of-Way permit page. A Right-of-Way permit must be obtained before applying for a Temporary Outdoor Business Operation Permit. A Right-of-Way permit costs on average about $2,000. A Temporary Outdoor Business Operation Permit without a platform is free.

Additional Resources


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