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San Francisco Gives Public Space For Outdoor Dining

Johan Mouchet

The Mayor's Office of San Francisco announced a new program to issue temporary outdoor-dining permits to restaurants.


It’s called the Shared Spaces program, and it allows restaurants that usually have sit-down service, to temporarily offer outdoor dining. Restaurant owners can now log on to sf.gov/sharedspaces to obtain a free, expedited permit so they can use sidewalks, parking lanes, and parks to accommodate restaurant goers. Mayor London Breed said this program is intended to help small businesses, workers and residents who are ready to safely sit outside and enjoy a meal. 

Restaurants and patrons will have to follow the existing guidelines as well as some new ones. For example, customers will be expected to wear masks until they are seated, and put them back on if they need to use the restroom. Tables must be limited to six customers, unless they are members of a single household. Furniture must go back inside every night, and there must be a 6 ft.- wide travel path for pedestrians.

The city says that since social distancing requirements are expected to continue until there is a vaccine, the Shared Spaces program gives San Francisco a way to help the local restaurant industry during the ongoing pandemic.  

Starting Monday, June 15th, retail businesses and storefronts can also apply to the Shared Spaces program. Permits that are approved will be valid until the end of December 2020.

Imran Ali Malik was a fellow in KALW's Audio Academy class of 2020. His reporting interests are design, economy, and telling stories of invisible structures and forgotten histories.