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Permits, violations & licenses

Get a Temporary Sidewalk Cafe License

Service overview

Qualifying businesses can register to offer outdoor dining on the sidewalk.  This is a temporary license to support businesses during the COVID-19 recovery.

Update: Temporary Sidewalk Cafe Licenses are now valid through December 31, 2022. Restaurants do not have to renew their license.

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.

Who

Business owners or their agents can apply for this license.

Requirements

Application

Complete an application for a temporary sidewalk cafe in the right-of-way.

Other licenses and permits

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.

Insurance

Liability insurance: $1,000,000 comprehensive general liability insurance including contractual liability insurance

Tax compliance

You must be current on all City of Philadelphia taxes.

Where and when

Online

Use the eCLIPSE system.

In person

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.

Cost

There is no fee for this license.

How

You can apply for this license online using eCLIPSE.

Online

1
Log in to your eCLIPSE account to apply. Upload all required documents.

Refer to the Department of Licenses and Inspection’s (L&I) how-to guides for step-by-step eCLIPSE instructions.

2
The application will go to L&I for review and approval.
3
If approved, L&I will notify the applicant.

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.

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