Outdoor Seating Temporary License FAQ

Extension of outdoor dining during COVID-19 Phase 2 re-opening

Find out whether you need to apply for a temporary license, about the application process, allowed alcohol use and any license limitations. 

What does the process entail to obtain an Outdoor Seating Temporary License?
Businesses are required to register for an Outdoor Seating Temporary License with the City of Raleigh and comply with the requirements outlined in the Outdoor Seating Extension Guide

Temporary Outdoor Seating Extension Online Application

Upon receipt, a confirmation email will be sent to applicant with further questions/instructions.

Do I need a permit to add tables and chairs to the sidewalk in front of my business?
While a permit is not required, businesses will need approval to extend outdoor seating premises by registering for a temporary license, submitting necessary requirements, completing a site inspection, and following the guidelines outlined in this guide. No fees will apply.

Do I need to get approval to take over a public parking space in front of my business?
Yes. To take over public parking you must apply for a Parklet permit. Please visit the City of Raleigh Hospitality Permits page for more information.

What are the hours of operation allowed on sidewalks?
Outdoor Seating hours of operation should remain consistent with your typical hours of operation. If you are expanding operations outdoors, please be mindful of your neighbors and any additional noise which may be generated.

Outdoor Seating premises may not operate after 2 a.m. on Saturday or Sunday and may not operate after 12 a.m. Monday through Friday.

How does the “6-foot rule” work for restaurant seating?
If people are at a table together, they do not need to be 6 feet apart. Each table setting needs to be 6 feet
from other tables measured from the back of each chair, chair-to-chair.

What is the expected timeline of receiving a temporary license to extend my outdoor seating?
City staff will make every effort possible to review, communicate, and complete final site inspection at the earliest possible timeline, respective of the necessary actions required to fulfill the proposed request.

Do I need an Outdoor Seating Temporary License to extend my restaurant seating onto private property?
In an effort to capture all businesses wishing to extend their footprint onto either a privately-owned parking lot or City sidewalk, all such businesses are asked to go through the registration process.  While the Outdoor Seating Temporary License does not apply to private property, you must separately obtain permission from private property owners and/or landlords to extend your seating or use onto private property. Alterations to your restaurant service area onto private property should still adhere to ADA, Emergency Egress, and other applicable guidelines, regulations and laws.  

Can I serve alcohol in an extended Outdoor Seating premise?
Yes, the ABC Commission will temporarily allow On-Premise ABC permit holders to include additional outdoor seating as part of their licensed premises to maximize social distancing. See ABC guidelines.

Can I exceed my interior capacity by extending my seating area onto public right of way?
No. Your overall occupancy capacity cannot exceed posted/approved capacity, regardless of size of outdoor space extension.

Can I cook or prepare food outdoors?
No. All food preparation guidelines, as permitted by Wake County Environmental Services remain in place and must be adhered to.

Are overhead shade structures allowed?
Overhead shade structures, such as umbrellas, may be utilized to provide shade in outdoor seating premises. Overhead elements must provide the appropriate clearance and may not interfere with the visibility of any traffic or wayfinding signage. Shade structures must be secured by weighted devices.

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