Escondido, CA
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“Overwhelming” support for street side dining

Street side dining in front of Mikko Sushi early in the day on Friday. Because indoor operations of restaurants is currently not allowed, the city is allowing restaurants to move out onto the sidewalk and even further. Photos by David Zumaya, My San Diego North County

The reaction to the city’s action making it easier for restaurants to offer street side dining and stay operating during the County’s latest lockdown of services has been totally positive.

Amber Tarrac, the city’s deputy economic development officer, told The Times-Advocate that the first weekend was a success: “Yes indeed – overwhelming community, operator, and DBA (Downtown Business Association) support!”

Starting Friday the City reduced travel lanes on Grand Avenue between Maple Street and Juniper Street to allow restaurants to create temporary outdoor dining locations. Traffic is limited to one travel lane in each direction with the other lane serving as parking.

This is in response to the State’s July 7 shutdown order prohibiting indoor dining that has had an immediate impact on local businesses. City staff and the Downtown Business Association (DBA) have been working quickly to streamline the permitting process that would normally take much longer in order to assist restaurants in staying open and operating outdoors. 

The DBA has committed $10,000 for shade coverings, tables, and chairs to support this effort and are also reimbursing downtown businesses the $100 Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) permit fee to allow them to serve alcohol outside. The City will be providing temporary barriers in order to ensure the safety of diners and restaurant staff.

Tarrac added, “The City worked diligently to really streamline the permit application process for sidewalk, parklet, and parking lot dining down to one page and are able to approve the permit applications within 24 business hours if the application is fully completed and submitted along with the diagram. 

The City created a Business Recovery Strategy and new, special temporary use allowances to allow for more outdoor sales, events, and dining within sidewalks, streets, and parking lots.

Dining in front of the popular Burger Bench on Grand Avenue.

Some temporary activities are allowed without a permit, and some still require a permit. If you have questions about your business’s specific situation, contact Deputy Director of Economic Development Amber Tarrac at atarrac@escondido.org or 760-839-4587 and she will shepherd you through the process.

The application can be found at: www.escondido.org/Data/Sites/1/media/PDFs/Planning/Applications/SpecialTUPApplicationForm.pdf

Businesses and restaurants in commercial areas or commercial centers (not Grand Ave):

You can move tables and chairs outside for display, service, and dining

NO Permit: If the tables and chairs are in non-parking areas (like nearby private sidewalks or near a storefront entry).

NO Permit: Reserve up to four parking spaces on your private property for carry-out or delivery zones. You must coordinate the location with the property owner and surrounding businesses.

YES Permit: If the tables and chairs are located in the parking lot, then a “Special TUP” is required. The city is waiving the fees for this permit. Fill out the application here Temporary Use Permit – Business Recovery Form and email to mstrong@escondido.org or return to the Planning Division at City Hall.

Business and restaurants on Grand Avenue:

You can move tables and chairs outside for display, service, and dining:

YES permit: If the tables and chairs are located on a public sidewalk, public parking space, or street, then a “Special TUP” is required. The city is waiving the fees for this permit. Fill out the Temporary Use Permit – Business Recovery Form and email to mstrong@escondido.org or return to the Planning Division at City Hall. 

NO permit: Up to 2 parking spaces can be reserved in the street (i.e. Grand Avenue). You must coordinate the location with the property owner and surrounding businesses. 

Outdoor dining supports social distancing while allowing local businesses to modify their operations in compliance with the health order. 

In addition to Grand Avenue, the City is working on the Business Recovery Temporary Use Permit that will assist businesses located throughout Escondido. For more information and assistance in navigating that process visit www.escondido.org/special-temporary-use-permits.aspx, contact Tarrac at atarrac@escondido.org or 760-839-4587.

O’Sullivan’s Irish pub on Friday morning, awaiting customers.

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