Permanent program builds upon temporary, pandemic-era program with necessary safety, efficiency and accessibility updates regarding the public right-of-way, and in line with changes required by City Council
PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia today released details on its Outdoor Dining Program, including regulations for streeteries, providing restaurant owners with new annual licensing options for a type of outdoor dining authorized in the parking lane on city streets. The permanent regulations replace temporary regulations that were established during the pandemic to support restaurants when restrictions limited their ability to operate indoors. The new regulations were diligently developed with safety, accessibility, and efficiency at the forefront of a complex interagency process to provide restaurants with the privilege of utilizing the public right of way.
“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia’s diverse restaurants adapted to open air spaces when—to help save lives—they were under capacity restrictions, contributing to a vibrancy on the street that has been welcomed by many residents and visitors,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The permanent outdoor dining program includes sidewalk cafes and streeteries. These new regulations codify the program based on changes passed by City Council. To ensure public safety, the streetery program is limited and we urge restaurants to thoroughly explore acceptable outdoor dining options before making any investments.”
While the regulations go into effect immediately, restaurant owners will have a period of time to review options available to them, prepare necessary documents, submit applications and remove existing streetery set ups that do not comply with the regulations. The Streetery guide available online should be carefully reviewed by business owners. “For the safety of our residents and visitors, it is imperative that businesses remove or make any necessary adjustments to existing structures and set-ups sooner rather than later,” said Department of Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Ralph DiPietro. “Compliance is key for ongoing access to outdoor dining experiences. City agencies will be supportive of businesses through this process.”
As defined by City Council in the Philadelphia Code Section 9-215, the Streetery License allows restaurants in specific geographic areas to use the parking lane in front of their establishment for outdoor dining operations. The update to Section 9-215 of the Philadelphia Code establishes rules for the efficient use of the public right-of-way by pedestrians and vehicles. There are provisions for furniture, certain structures, shelters and enclosures, platforms and crash-worthy protective barriers. In November 2022, restaurant owners will be able to apply for a Streetery License. This is for eating establishments that primarily prepare food for sale to customers who intend on consuming their meals on its premises in authorized outdoor locations.
Before applying, eligible restaurant owners are required to:
Possess consent from the property owner.
Possess a certificate of insurance.
Attest to indemnification and removal requirements, and have a valid Food License for the specified location, among other requirements.
A non-refundable fee of $200 must accompany the application and will be credited towards the payment of the first annual license fee of $1,750 should the Streetery application be approved. Businesses must maintain at least one million dollars in comprehensive general liability insurance coverage.
Note: The Streets Department must approve the business site plan and location before applicants can complete the licensure application. Applications must be renewed annually online through the eCLIPSE system, which is the Department of Licenses and Inspections digital licensing tool. Restaurants seeking to build Streetery Structures will also need approval by the Art Commission and a building permit. For more information on structures, a definition can be found in the Philadelphia Building Construction and Occupancy Code Bulletin B-2201.
Sidewalk Cafe Program
An additional component of the City’s Outdoor Dining program is the Sidewalk Cafe License. Temporary Sidewalk Cafe Licenses will expire on Saturday, December 31, 2022, but restaurants can explore if they are eligible to apply for a regular Sidewalk Cafe License online. “Outdoor dining took on a new and resilient persona in our city as a result of the pandemic,” said Deputy Managing Director for Transportation Mike Carroll. “The extension of dining into the authorized section of a parking lane is a great example of how to share vibrant open spaces in our city while enhancing memorable dining experiences for all Philadelphians and those visiting.”
The City will conduct informational webinars to help inform businesses of the new process.
Attend the Philadelphia Outdoor Dining Info Sessions:
Business owners with questions about applying for or operating outdoor dining should email email@example.com or call 215-683-2100. Residents may call 3-1-1 to report businesses conducting activities related to outdoor dining that appear to be unsafe. City departments involved in the creation and implementation of the program include: Streets Department, Managing Director’s Office (MDO), Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS), Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I), Department of Public Health (DPH), Law Department, Department of Commerce, Mayor’s Office, Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD), and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). City departments have been collaborating with other cities and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) throughout the past two years while developing Philadelphia’s program.
About the Outdoor Dining Program: First launched in June 2020, the temporary outdoor dining program was an emergency action that helped more than 750 restaurants earn much needed revenue by offering outdoor dining. The permanent regulations take into consideration input from City Council, local business owners and residents, and other cities, while addressing public safety, accessibility, and implementation of the program in a safe, and responsible way. The regulations identify acceptable structures, fixtures and amenities, require businesses to ensure safety measures are met, that structures are ADA compliant and underground and above ground utilities are accessible.