Philadelphia’s diverse restaurants not only help to power the local economy, but they also give the city’s neighborhoods their distinct character. During the yellow and green phases of reopening, restaurants throughout the city will need expanded capacity to maintain proper social distancing.

We’re committed to ensuring that all Philadelphia restaurants—across all neighborhoods—have an equal opportunity to reopen safely and earn a living by offering outdoor dining.

Resuming outdoor dining in Philadelphia

Restaurants that have patio areas on their properties or already have sidewalk café licenses will be able to offer outdoor seating starting Friday, June 12, as long as they follow COVID-19 safety precautions and have current, valid restaurant licenses.

New outdoor dining registration forms will be available online by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 12 and the City will begin review of sidewalk café applications on Monday, June 15.

Businesses without existing permits, and those who wish to expand their existing outdoor dining footprint, are encouraged to apply for our new outdoor dining options. Registration and approval is required for new or expanded outdoor dining prior to opening.

Restaurants will have four potential options based on their location:

  1. Sidewalk Café — Allows for daily use of sidewalk area in front of the business for restaurant seating.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Temporary street closure — Pilot program beginning this summer that allows for temporary closure of certain streets for restaurant seating.

For the first time, restaurants will also have the opportunity to expand their seating area in front of adjacent businesses and onto vacant lots, with the written permission of the property owners.

There are no fees to register for any of the outdoor dining options. However, a Temporary Use permit for lot closures is $30.

Keeping Philadelphians safe while dining outside

Regardless of which outdoor dining option businesses choose, they will have to follow existing social distancing and public safety measures, as outlined in guidance by the Department of Public Health for restaurants and the specific guidance for outdoor dining.

Safety precautions include:

  • 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.

If you are a business owner and have questions about applying for or operating outdoor dining, please email business@phila.gov.

If you are a resident and believe a business is not following the guidance listed above, please contact Philly311 by dialing 3-1-1 or submitting a report online.