Philly’s Outdoor Dining Guidelines

Philly’s Outdoor Dining Guidelines

When it comes to the Philadelphia economy, nothing says it better than having diversity among restaurants while providing sharp personality. As Philadelphia continues to reopen, the need to adhere to social distancing standards has become crucial for restaurants and their individual capacities.

All restaurants are provided with equal chances to provide dining outside while safely reopening.

The Outdoor Dining Experience

Any restaurants with an outside patio or that utilize a license for sidewalk café are permitted to provide seating for outdoor dining. However, they must stick to the established precautions concerning COVID-19 and maintain a restaurant license that is both current and valid.

If restaurants want to register for this service they can obtain a form online through the city of Philadelphia’s website.

If a restaurant has no permit or if a restaurant wishes to broaden their current status for outside dining, then they should feel motivated to do so by applying for the city’s new options for dining outside. Restaurants must register and be approved before being allowed to offer initial outside dining options.

Current options available for restaurants include the following:

  1. Street closure on a temporary basis – A city program is being developed to permit streets to be closed temporarily to provide outdoor seating for restaurants.
  2. The utilization of a private lot – This permit a restaurant to utilize a private or empty lot and turn it into a dining area temporarily. This includes the use of a restaurant’s parking lot.
  3. Streetery – This permits patrons to eat at curbside after the curbside paring has been turned into an established dining area outside for both beverages and food service.
  4. Sidewalk Café — This type permits a restaurant to use their sidewalk as an outdoor dining space.

Unlike before, a restaurant is able to ask for permission from other business owners and vacant lot owners to establish an expanded outside dining area on the property.

Although there is no charge for registering a restaurant for outside dining, a $30 fee is charged for temporary lot closure permits.

Maintaining Safety During Outside Restaurant Dining

No matter the option that you prefer to use for your outdoor dining, they all are required to follow the current guidelines already in place concerning social distancing, and other established health guidelines. These involve those set in place by the health department.

A few of the established precautions set in place involve the following:

• Must maintain the restricted maximum amount of individuals at all times (50). This includes any business staff and any and all guests of the restaurant.
• Must keep access available to all entrances, bus stops, public utilities, crosswalks, and fire hydrants.
• Ensuring safety of traffic and pedestrians by maintaining a path that is clear for pedestrians to travel smoothly.
• Maintaining 6 ft. of space between all tables while occupied for dining.

The rules below pertain to every business that will be permitted to operate dining outside:

• Business hours can only be between 8 am and midnight. Last call for all drinks and food shall be at 11 pm.
• No open flame, heating, or any cooking is permitted in any right of way area. The only exception is a heater approved for outside heating.
• Right of way food preparation is prohibited
• Adequate night time lighting is required.
• Any disturbance or noise complaint can cause outdoor dining to cease.
• All collections for recycling, delivery, and waste is to be provided in a safe manner and will not impede on any regulations, safety of all vehicles and pedestrians and social distancing guidelines.
• No tents shall be permitted, unless on a lot that is private has permitted them.
• If a restaurant has 20 tables or less, then one table must be designated for disabled persons. If more than 20 tables are supplied, then 5 percent of them must be designated for disabled persons. This requirement applies to all new registrants as well as all existing restaurants that are establishing outside dining.
• Restaurant must label all furniture that it uses for outside dining. It also must be secured while not being readily used or after closing time.

For any business or restaurant that has any questions or concerns about the established guidelines above, you may contact the city of Philadelphia by email at