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Permanent shared spaces

Local businesses will be able to take advantage of streamlined permitting for a now-permanent right to use sidewalks, curbside space, full-street spaces, and open lots for commercial purposes. The program, dubbed Shared Spaces when it was launched in March 2020, was intended as a temporary measure to let some businesses operate with safe outdoor space at a time when indoor operations of restaurants and some other businesses were barred. In mid-July 2021, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation supported by Mayor London Breed to make the Shared Spaces program permanent.

The new status comes with a streamlined permitting process, with what the mayor’s office says will be a “single easy-to-use application portal,” a requirement that the city provide approvals within 30 days of the application’s submission, and coordinated enforcement.

“Shared Spaces brought back life and excitement to our neighborhoods during an incredibly challenging time,” said Breed. “By taking the necessary steps to make Shared Spaces permanent, we are providing another lifeline for local businesses to thrive and creating a clear path forward towards rebuilding our economy as San Francisco recovers from Covid-19.”

The city will defer collection of permit fees until June 2022.

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