Qualifying businesses can register to offer outdoor dining on the sidewalk. This is a temporary license to support businesses during the COVID-19 recovery.
You can apply for a:
- Temporary sidewalk cafe – This license allows you to use the sidewalk area in front of a business for restaurant seating.
- Temporary sidewalk cafe extension – This license allows you to use the sidewalk area for restaurant seating. The owner of the adjacent property must grant permission.
- Temporary shelters – This license allows you to place tents or other structures on the sidewalk. You will need additional permits and approvals before erecting or placing structures.
Outdoor dining options
Business owners can get a Zoning Permit to change the use of a private lot for a limited time.
Business owners or their agents can apply for this license.
Complete an application for a temporary sidewalk cafe in the right-of-way.
Other licenses and permits
- Business Income and Receipts Tax ID (BIRT)
- Commercial Activity License
- Food Preparation and Serving License
- Building Permit
- Tent Permit
Authorization of temporary sidewalk cafe extension
If you plan to extend the sidewalk cafe in front of a property adjacent to the business, the adjacent property owner must grant authorization and the business must submit an authorization form.
Liability insurance: $1,000,000 comprehensive general liability insurance including contractual liability insurance
You must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.
Where and when
Use the eCLIPSE system.
Permit and License Center
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Municipal Services Building, Public Service Concourse
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Office hours: 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
Office closes at noon on the last Wednesday of each month.
There is no fee for this license.
You can apply for this license online using eCLIPSE.
Refer to the Department of Licenses and Inspection’s (L&I) how-to guides for step-by-step eCLIPSE instructions.
Changes to an existing outdoor dining license
To make changes to an existing license, submit the online amendment to temporary sidewalk cafe form. These changes may include:
- Adding a structure.
- Extending seating in front of an adjacent property.
- Other license changes.