• Jacque Coe

City Extends Free Street Permits Through Oct. 2021; Seattle Fire to Offer Free 90-Day Tent Permits


Free sidewalk café and street closure permits from the City of Seattle will be extended through October of 2021, according to the Mayor’s office. The free permits through the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) are intended to help ease the impact to businesses like restaurants limited by the pandemic. To read the details for the permits through SDOT, click here.

Additionally, tables, chairs and business equipment for the outdoor dining sidewalk and street cafes may remain out 24 hours; a significant change from prior requirements under the Seattle Department of Transportation. Your local government affairs team has been working with the Mayor’s Office and SDOT on these extensions for members. SDOT has created a guidance document for outdoor dining operations and winter weather equipment. To see the guidance, click here.

As part of the street closure permitting process, businesses need to notify and demonstrate support from neighboring businesses and residents of proposed open streets for businesses. While the typical permit costs are waived, businesses are still are responsible for any expenses related to the street closure proposal – such as barricades, temporary no parking signs, and tables and chairs.

Also, the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) will issue free, 90-day tent permits and free heating permits to businesses to help them continue their operations outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All free tent permits must align with SFD regulations, including complying with the fire code. All business owners who paid for a tent permit since July 1, 2020 will be refunded. The permits are limited to 90-days due to the need for frequent inspection to maintain compliance with building and fire codes. To see specific guidance on tenting and heating from SFD, click here.

The free heating permits to businesses operating outdoors due to COVID-19 are effective immediately and continue through October 31, 2021. Businesses who already paid for a propane heating permit since July 1, 2020 will be refunded in full.

To see the full release from the city, click here.

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