With San Diego County in the state’s Purple Tier, more restaurants are offering outdoor dining, including in Coronado. As the weather grows colder, some businesses hoping to stay open are turning to tents to serve diners.

Outdoor tents are allowed, according to state regulations. However, there are many factors to consider before buying a tent. The most significant requirement is its flame-retardant capability but there are also rules about how close a tent can be to buildings, ventilation, maximum occupancy and the use of nearby cooking or heating equipment.

The City wants business owners to be aware of these requirements before they invest money in a type of tent that is not allowed. The Coronado Fire Department has a handout that details the City and California Fire Code requirements on the installation and use of tents and how to obtain a City permit for their temporary use. Fire Department personnel are available to answer questions.

“We will come out to review a restaurant’s concept plan prior to the owner buying a costly tent,” Fire Chief Jim Lydon said. “We can let you know what is allowed and, more importantly, what is not and we can suggest what might work best.”

Lydon said tents under which 10 or more people can gather, generally those over 50 square feet, are required to be treated and bear the required certification of flame-retardant application. A permit also is required prior to setting up and using a tent that exceeds 400 square feet.

Applications must be submitted to the City’s Community Development Department. It will be passed on to the Fire Department for review and approval. The Fire Department will conduct an inspection of the tent at no cost to verify proper installation and compliance with the code requirements. Applications will be emailed out upon request. Call 619-522-7374.

Local health departments can fine restaurants if their outdoor setups are not up to code. Additionally, the City may order the tents removed.

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