man and woman at a table drinking beers at table outside

Outdoor Seating

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COVID-19 Temporary Outdoor Seating Extension Application Traditional Outdoor Seating Permit Process

Outdoor Seating is a portion of City sidewalks operated by restaurants or other businesses that are licensed to serve food and/or beverages, including alcohol.  The outdoor seating space is privately managed by the business, open for use only by its customers, and separated from the remainder of the sidewalk by City seal medallions. Use of such public right-of-ways requires a Private Use of Public Spaces permit.

COVID-19 Temporary Outdoor Seating Extension Application

Raleigh businesses like restaurants, breweries, wine shops, bottle shops, and coffee shops who want to extend their outdoor seating as part of the state’s COVID Phase 2 reopening plan can now apply for an Outdoor Seating Temporary License from the City--at no cost. 

Under new City guidelines businesses can expand their footprint onto City public rights-of-way such as sidewalks or in privately owned parking lots without having to meet specific City Code and permit requirements, while following safety guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Outdoor Seating Extension Guide | Application | FAQ  | Insurance Requirements

Who can apply?
Phase 2 of the State’s reopening approach allows businesses such as restaurants, breweries, wine shops, bottle shops, and coffee shops to open for on-premises services with limits on occupancy, specific requirements for disinfection, and maintaining social distancing. 

When to apply?
Businesses may apply for an Outdoor Seating Temporary License now.  The temporary license will take effect no earlier than 10 business days following the City Council Meeting held on June 2, 2020. 

When does the temporary license expire?
An Outdoor Seating Temporary License will be issued to all businesses who register and will last until all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. The licenses will also be granted a 30-day grace period following this date, at no cost to the applicant. 

•    Outdoor Seating Extension Guide
•    Application
•    FAQ
•    Insurance Requirements
•    Indemnity Agreement


Traditional Outdoor Seating Permit Process

If you are applying for an Outdoor Seating permit not related to COVID-19 Phase 2 reopening, you can use our traditional application process:

How to Apply

  1. Read about outdoor seating requirements in our hospitality planning guide.
  2. First-time applicants should contact the Office of Emergency Management and Special Events Office to learn how to apply.
  3. Complete the Outdoor Seating Application. Submission includes uploading the following requirements:

*You are also able to view your requirements and submit applications online via our permit and development portal. 

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