San Francisco’s “Shared Spaces” Program Will Allow Use of Parks and Sidewalks for Restaurant Dining

Scientists and public policy leaders are learning about the coronavirus in real time, and one of the things they’ve gleaned is that the virus is not as easily transmissible outdoors. That has led a number of localities to ponder outside dining as a solution to the risks posed by restaurants. As SF Eater reports, San Francisco is the latest government to jump into the fray.

The recent wave to allow bars and restaurants to take over city streets has hit San Francisco today, as SF Mayor London Breed has announced a program called “Shared Spaces” that will allow pick-up services in public spaces like sidewalks, streets, or parks and plazas now...and outdoor dining once sit-down meals are allowed in the city.

The program “will allow individual businesses or local merchant associations to apply for a no-cost, expedited permit to share the sidewalk or parking lane for business purposes,” according to a press release.

“We must do everything we can to support restauranteurs and small business owners whom have had to revamp their entire business operations due to the pandemic,” said San Francisco County Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer. “By increasing access to public spaces such as sidewalks and parklets, we can help businesses become more resilient.”

San Jose is pursuing a similar program. Berkeley and San Mateo may be next.