Seattle Extends Outdoor Dining for a Year, Eases Rules on Heaters for the Winter

Outdoor dining is going to hang out for a bit.

1 minute read

October 22, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Seattle Coronavirus

The famed Pike Place Market shown on March 24, 2020, at the height of stay-at-home and social distancing orders. | Real Window Creative / Shutterstock

The city of Seattle has extended its outdoor dining program until October 2021, according to an article by Gabe Guarente. The city's free, expedited permit program had been scheduled to expire at the end of the month.

"In addition, the city will now be issuing free tent and heater permits for restaurants who wish to winterize their patios, and outdoor dining equipment can remain outside 24/7. Previously, the Seattle Fire Department did not allow heating elements outside without a special costly permit, even if the establishment already had sidewalk space or streets cordoned off, and restaurants needed to properly store equipment (like heat lamps) inside after closing," reports Guarante.

At the time of Guarente's writing, the city had issued 151 outdoor dining permits. Compare that total to recently reported figures from San Francisco, where 328 permits for the city's shared spaces platform (SSP) program have allowed restaurants to place tables in parking spaces.

Seattle now joins a growing roster of cities that have extended outdoor dining programs installed during the coronavirus pandemic. In September, New York City announced that its program would be made permanent.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020 in Eater Seattle

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