Temporary Outdoor Dining & Retail Program
Sidewalk Cafe, Parking Lane Cafe, Full Street Closure, and Curbside Pick-up Zone Permits
Now on OneStopPGH
What is the Temporary Outdoor Dining & Retail Program?
The Temporary Outdoor Dining & Retail Program allows Pittsburgh restaurants and other businesses to easily apply for temporary Sidewalk Cafe, Parking Lane Cafe, Full Street Closure, and Curbside Pick-up Zone Permits. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this program helps businesses and restaurants provide outdoor space and promote social distancing while Pittsburgh slowly reopens.
As part of the program, businesses can apply for one or more of the following temporary permits:
- Sidewalk Cafe Permit to utilize existing sidewalk space in front of a business for retail or dining.
- Parking Lane Cafe Permit to utilize the parking lane in front of a business for retail or dining.
- Full Street Closure Permit to significantly change part of a street or a full street for outdoor walking, shopping, and dining.
- Curbside Pick-up Zone Permit to designate specific parking zones for delivery drivers and customers taking food to-go.
Please make sure to fully review application requirements, below before submitting your application to OneStopPGH.
All existing permits in the Temporary Outdoor Dining & Retail Program are extended to December 31, 2021. At that time, the City will determine whether to make this program permanent.
Please note that at this time, DOMI is not accepting applications for annual sidewalk cafe licenses
Permitted Outdoor Dining Locations
Additional Resources for Applicants
For additional information, see:
- Guidelines – Temporary Outdoor Dining & Retail Program (PDF)
- Application Process – Temporary Outdoor Dining & Retail Program (PDF)
- Design Guidelines – NACTO Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery Guide (PDF)
- Barrier Materials Guide (PDF)
- Pittsburgh Winter Outdoor Dining and Retail Guidance (PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions
What does temporary permitting do?
The temporary permitting eases requirements through December 31, 2021 to make it easier for restaurants and businesses to apply for outdoor dining permits. At that time, the City Council will determine whether to extend the permits further into 2021.
What documentation is each business responsible for providing to the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure at the time of application?
Businesses are required to provide the following information at the time of application through OneStopPGH:
- Contact information
- Site plan
- Certificate of Insurance
- Signed Terms and Conditions
What documentation is each business responsible for providing to the Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections at the time of application?
Businesses must provide the following information at the time of application through OneStopPGH:
- Contact information
- Site plan, and
- Description of Use
- Seating plan including product specifications for tables, chairs, tents, or other furnishings
Who will provide traffic barriers and furnishings?
DOMI has capacity to assist with traffic barriers. However, depending on each business’s site plan and the availability of barriers, each business should be prepared to provide their own barriers. See DOMI’s Barrier Materials Guide at this link for more information.
Outdoor furnishings (tables, chairs, tents, heaters, lights) are the responsibility of each business. Businesses are encouraged to seek financial assistance from community groups or philanthropic organizations.
What is the application process, start to finish?
The application steps are:
- Submit an application for a DOMI “Outdoor Dining & Retail” Permit on OneStopPGH
- Submit an application for a Department of Permits, Licences, and Inspections (PLI) “Temporary Occupancy Permit” (“TOP”) on OneStopPGH
- DOMI, PLI, and the ADA Coordinator review the applications and approve or deny the permits
- Install the signage and barriers in the designated places if approved
- Request an inspection from both PLI and DOMI
- DOMI and PLI will provide electronic copies of the permit after the location passes inspection
What street modifications are permitted?
Businesses may apply for the following modifications:
- Sidewalk Cafe
- Parking Lane Cafe
- Full Street Closure
- Curbside Pick-Up Zone (only legal parking spots and loading zones)
What if my business is on a state road?
Parking Lane Cafes and Full Street Closures must be approved by PennDOT before application.
What constraints should each business consider?
- All Full Street Closures must include an emergency access lane of at least 10 ft.
- All site plans must allow for physical distancing so that passing pedestrians can be at least 6 ft from customers at all times.
- All site plans must allow for a minimum 4 feet of pedestrian clear space.
What should be included on my site plan?
Site Plans must include:
- The dimensions of the installation and placement of materials
- The scale of the drawing
- Existing storefront locations, widths, and locations of entry and exit doors including emergency exits
- The layout and dimensions of tables, barrier systems and any other furnishings
- The dimensions between tables or other furnishings for circulation
- The approximate square feet of the outdoor area you are requesting to use
- The location of any obstructions such as utility poles, fire hydrants, parking meters, street signs, trees, bike racks, etcetera
- The accessibility of the area including curb ramps and accessible seating
- And the location of any emergency facilities such as standpipes, vault doors, etcetera
For more information about how to draw a site plan, watch our video tutorial here.
Can my site plan be hand drawn?
Yes. Your site plan can be hand drawn, but needs to be drawn to scale. We recommend using graph paper or a computer program to create your site plan.
Can I set up tents or canopies in my permitted space?
Yes, under Pittsburgh’s Winter Outdoor Dining and Retail Guidelines. However, before installing a tent or canopy in the public space, you must submit an updated site plan to DOMI showing the size, type, and location of the tents or canopies and DOMI must approve your updated site plan and update your existing permit.
Keep in mind the following:
- Tents and other structures comply with state and county COVID-19 guidelines capacity restrictions
- All structures must either follow PLI guidelines or be anchored and approved by a PA licensed architect or engineer. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Can I use heaters in my permitted space?
Yes, under the following conditions:
- Electric heater cords should be secured to the sidewalk or street surface and not present a tripping hazard
- Only electric heaters are permitted in temporary structures (like tents).
- Propane and gas-fired heaters are permitted, but must be kept 10 ft from any combustible material at all times
- Propane tanks are not to be stored indoors under any circumstances. Instead, propane tanks should be securely fastened in a metal storage locker or shed
Can I put lights in my permitted space?
Yes, under the following conditions:
- Battery and solar lighting are permitted.
- All electric string lights must be at least 13 ft 6 in from the ground surface.
- No wires may impede streets, sidewalks, or parking lanes.
General Guidelines for Permits
- COVID Safety Compliance - Restaurant operations and sidewalk café layout must comply with all current local, county, and state guidance on COVID-19. (https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/)
- Accessible pedestrian access and circulation - A clear, accessible pedestrian pathway of at least 6 feet must be provided through or around the occupied outdoor space and to all building entrances.
- Patron Queuing - Applicant’s proposal should account for any queuing that may occur, and should allocate space to do so safely.
- Emergency Access - Outdoor operations must maintain emergency access and must not block fire hydrants, fire stand pipes, emergency exits or similar.
- Maintenance - Permittees will be required to maintain the space in a safe and orderly fashion in accordance with approved design plans.
- Liquor Control - If alcohol will be served in the seating area, applicants must comply with all applicable Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board regulations.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.