• Jacque Coe

City Offers Temporary Free Street Closure Permits for Restaurants and Businesses

Seeking to help expand outdoor options for restaurants and other businesses, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced the expansion of free street closure permit options for one or more blocks. The newly announced options add to the city’s free permits for curb spacing and sidewalk cafes. Your government affairs team has been working on these options for months and very pleased to share this news. Applications for the street closures open on

July 29.

The new permits will give restaurants and retail stores more outdoor space to operate. That’s important given the recent increases in coronavirus cases. “We must all fight the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in our region,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “As we are seeing increasing cases from social gatherings and indoor dining, we can create additional opportunities for our restaurants and businesses to safely operate outdoors.”

Your government affairs team has been providing consistent member feedback since the start of the shutdown to provide creative ways to expand outdoor dining options while keeping employees and guests safe. The city opened sidewalk café and curb space permits to free applications last month. This allows restaurants, retail stores, vending trucks and carts to operate in the sidewalk space or expand into the parking curb space in front of their business. These new, temporary permit options help a business owner successfully and safety reopen by expanding their footprint outside.

Currently, the permits are available for up to six months, and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is expediting permit review. So far, SDOT has received 92 sidewalk café and curb space permit applications. To apply for the sidewalk café and curb space permits applications, visit SDOT’s website . "Staff are prioritizing street closure permit requests, offering coaching sessions, and soon we’ll have materials in multiple languages to support successful applications," said Sam Zimbabwe, SDOT Director.

Permit applicants will need to notify and demonstrate support from neighboring businesses and residents of any proposed street closures. While typical SDOT permit costs are waived, applicants are responsible for any expenses related to the street closure proposal – such as barricades, temporary no parking signs, and tables and chairs. There are requirements; applicants must conform to all relevant state and local public health guidance. Permit review times vary based on the complexity and the preparedness of the applicant, so businesses interested in applying and encouraged to utilize SDOT’s coaching resources.

For more information about the new permits types or to schedule an applicant coaching session, click here or e-mail publicspace@seattle.gov.

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