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The Open Restaurants program allows restaurants and bars to place seating on the sidewalk or parking lane in front of their establishments.

Before they can open their outdoor dining areas, food establishments must self-certify that they meet program guidelines.

The Department of Transportation is proactively inspecting restaurants participating in the Open Restaurants Program.

You can report an outdoor dining area that is:

  • Blocking sidewalks or streets
  • Lacking required barriers, ramps, or platforms
  • Not accessible for people with disabilities
  • Not authorized by the Open Restaurants program
  • Serving alcohol without a license

Blocked Sidewalk

Sidewalk seating must maintain an 8-foot path for pedestrians free from obstructions between the seating and the curb.

Seating also can’t block a:

  • Bike rack
  • Bus stop shelter or waiting area
  • Siamese water connection
  • Sidewalk grate
  • Utility cover

Seating Set Up Incorrectly

Seating must:

  • Be up against the wall of the business or as close as possible
  • Not exceed business frontage
  • Be at least 3 feet from the adjacent business

Blocked Street Zones

Open Restaurants can place dining areas at the curb or parking lane on the street in front of their business, but can’t block:

  • Bike lanes
  • Bus stops
  • Car Share spaces
  • Crosswalks
  • Fire hydrants
  • No Standing or No Stopping Anytime zones

Blocked Utility Cover

Dining areas can’t block access to or ventilation of utility covers.

You can report that valve, manhole, and ventilated grating covers are blocked by an outdoor seating area.

Table Not in Compliance

Curb lane seating on the roadway cannot exceed the length of business frontage or use space in front of other properties.

Tables must be removed or secured in place when not in use and cannot:

  • Extend into the roadway more than 8 feet
  • Extend beyond the business frontage
  • Be less than 6 feet apart

Barrier Missing or Not in Compliance 

To protect customers and ensure visibility by motorists, restaurants must separate curb lane seating from the travel lane with barriers. Barriers can be planters or objects of similar size and weight.

Barriers must be:

  • At least 18 inches in width and 30-36 inches in height (excluding plantings)
  • Marked with yellow high intensity retro-reflective tape or reflectors 
  • Placed directly next to each other with no gaps on all three sides of the seating area that is in the roadway
  • No more than 8 feet from the curb

Platform Defective

To comply with accessibility guidelines, prevent the curb from becoming a tripping hazard, and allow drainage to pass under seating, restaurants may install platforms.

You can report platforms that are:

  • Not connected with the curb
  • Blocking rainwater drainage to or along the curb
  • Blocking access to ventilation or utility covers

Open Restaurants seating must meet accessibility guidelines and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Restaurants must:

  • Maintain a 36-inch minimum route throughout the seating area
  • Install curb ramps or platforms to connect the sidewalk to the street level
  • Make at least 5% of dining surfaces (but no less than 1) accessible for seating and standing

Learn more about accessibility requirements.

Before they can open their outdoor seating areas, food establishments must self-certify that they meet Open Restaurants program requirements with the Department of Transportation.

All restaurants with authorization are listed in the Open Restaurants Database.

Alcohol Service

Bars and restaurants can serve alcoholic beverages only if they are licensed by the State Liquor Authority and submit all appropriate documents with their Open Restaurants application.

Open Restaurants may also only serve alcohol to people ordering and eating food.

To report an Open Restaurant serving alcohol without a license, visit the Alcohol License Check page.

To report an Open Restaurant serving alcohol to customers who are not ordering food, visit the Alcohol Sale Complaint page.

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