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Mayor signs executive order making San Diego city parks available for gyms and churches

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer made the announcement at Mira Mesa Community Park.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced at Mira Mesa Community Park his executive order allowing gyms and churches to use city parks for in-person activities.
(Courtesy of city of San Diego)

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer signed an executive order Aug. 18 that allows gyms and churches to use city parks for in-person activities.

The mayor’s order temporarily waives permitting fees for fitness studios and religious institutions that want to operate outside in one of the 340 city parks. The directive, which goes into effect Monday, Aug. 24, defers the fees for 60 days. That period may be extended in a later City Council vote.

“There is no city better than San Diego to take advantage of the fact that COVID-19 has a harder time spreading outdoors,” Faulconer said in a statement. “Using parks as part of our pandemic relief response will help the mental health and physical health of thousands of San Diegans. This executive order lets San Diegans work out and worship in parks across our city. Starting Monday you can join a small group to pray, do Pilates or part ways with your Quarantine 15 weight gain, all in a healthy outdoor environment.”

As coronavirus-related restrictions continue to force businesses to get creative, a proposal from San Diego City Council member Chris Cate would allow certain businesses, nonprofits and faith-based organizations to operate in parks.

The executive order follows San Diego County’s move earlier this month to allow gyms and churches to hold services and classes at county parks, also waiving permitting fees.

Organizations that want to take advantage of the mayor’s new order have a few rules to follow. Businesses must display their San Diego County Safe Reopening Plan, hold insurance naming the city of San Diego as an additional insured, and have a city business tax certificate prior to Aug. 1.

New permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for each park, depending on the local demand and total space available.


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