Outdoor Dining Update for Businesses

Outdoor dining in University City
Jun 11, 2020 53 days ago

The City of Philadelphia has published guidelines and protocols tied to outdoor dining. Below, we have boiled down the most important information. If you are a restaurant owner or operator and have questions or need additional assistance form University City District, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected]. We will do our best to assist you during our normal operating hours. If you have specific questions or concerns that are better meant for the City, you can email the, at [email protected]

The City has prepared a 39 page document with all of the relevant information here. If you are more comfortable with another language other than English, assistance services are available by calling 3-1-1-. 

The City has also created graphics you can print to hang at your establishments, including posters on social distancing guidelines. Click here to view the printable posters.

Outdoor Dining in Philadelphia: What You Need to Know This website update from the City outlines the ways to reopen safely and begin serving customers using outdoor seating. We strongly recommend reading the entire website, but here are the key takeaways:

  • There are no fees to register for outdoor dining options other than a Temporary Use permit for lot closures (including parking lots and vacant lots), which is $30. 
  • All restaurants serving customers outdoors must take these precautions:
    • Spacing tables, and the backs of all chairs (when seated), a minimum of six feet apart
    • Maintaining pedestrian and traffic safety, including a clear path (six feet wide) of travel for pedestrian flow
    • Maintaining easy access to public utilities, fire hydrants, building entrances, crosswalks, and transit stops
  • The following rules will also apply to all businesses operating outdoor dining:
    • Hours of operation are limited to 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • No heating, cooking or open flames in the right of way, except approved outdoor heaters
    • No food preparation in the public right of way
    • Appropriate lighting is required at night
    • Outdoor operations can be shut down if they are a nuisance to neighbors
    • Moveable furniture on streets and sidewalks must be labeled as property of the business and must be moved inside or secured to the ground when not in use
    • Tents are prohibited, except in private lots
    • Establishments with less than 20 tables total, must make at least one table ADA accessible. Establishments with more than 20 tables total, must make 5 percent of tables ADA accessible
    • Deliveries and waste and recycling collections must be conducted safely and in a way that does not impact social distancing, ADA regulations, or safe circulation by pedestrians, bikes, or vehicles
  • Restaurants that have patio areas on their properties or already have sidewalk café licenses may apply for temporary outdoor dining at this website. Restaurants must follow COVD-19 safety precautions and have current, valid restaurant licenses to apply. 
    • The COVID-19 safety precautions are outlined in full hereThe required general precautions include:
      • The wearing of masks
      • Barriers between workers and customers 
      • Home isolation for anyone carrying the virus  
      • Safe distancing
      • Reduced crowds
      • Handwashing
      • Cleaning
      • Communication with staff 
  • Restaurants that do not have permits for outdoor dining will need to apply for a new permit prior to reopening. The forms will be available tomorrow, June 12 at 5 pm, and the City will begin reviewing sidewalk cafe applications on Monday, June 15th. The permit application process will use the eCLIPSE (Electronic Commercial Licensing, Inspection and Permit Services Enterprise) and should be accessible by clicking here after 5 pm tomorrow.  
  • Businesses wishing to expand their existing outdoor dining footprint are also required to apply for the new outdoor dining options. Registration and approval are required for new or expanded outdoor dining prior to opening. 
  • Restaurants will have four potential options for outdoor dining based on their location:
    • Sidewalk Café — Allows for daily use of sidewalk area in front of the business for restaurant seating

    • Temporary street closure — Pilot program beginning this summer that allows for temporary closure of certain streets for restaurant seating

    • Temporary use of private lots for dining  — Allows restaurants to convert spaces in their parking lots into restaurant seating and to place seating onto vacant lots in most commercial and mixed-use zoning districts

    • Streetery — Allows for curbside parking at street level (or platform built on the street) to be converted into outdoor dining or take-away area for food and beverages

University City District is here to help you how we can. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us!

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