Winter Tents and Outdoor Dining Guidance
Document linksWinter Covid-19 Tents and Outdoor Dining Guidance 10-16-20 Executive Order No. 19 - Winterizing Recovery Zones
As we enter the winter months, this document provides guidance for restaurants to continue operating outdoors safely and responsibly. As a reminder, all outdoor dining spaces must have:
Covid-19 Tents and Outdoor Dining Guidance
Temporary outdoor structures, including tents, are allowed on private property or the public way under the following regulations. General:
- A Sidewalk Café Permit and/or a Recovery Zone Application and Agreement;
- A Tent, Stage or other Temporary Structure Permit, if applicable; and
- An Electrical Permit if a heater or lighting will be used.
Heating Devices: Heating Devices are allowed but must meet the following operational regulations:
- Tents or covering may not be over the sidewalk nor may the tents be attached to the buildings. The Air Space above the sidewalks must be kept clear. All sidewalks must be kept clear for pedestrian access and fire department access
- A 36 in. (3ft) clear space must be maintained around the circumference of the tent, around all fire hydrants and in front of fire department connections (FDC's)
- Temporary outdoor structures must have at least two sides open to allow air flow
- All temporary outdoor structures to be used for outdoor dining must obtain a Department of Planning and Zoning-issued permit.
- Temporary structures must be weighted, anchored or secured to the ground, but cannot be anchored with any method that requires screwing, cutting or drilling into the public way or to buildings (i.e. on streets or sidewalks)
- All structural materials shall have a fire-resistant certification or flame certification showing material is fire-rated or noncombustible
- Use of tents and other temporary structures may be deemed unsafe and prohibited during severe weather events (wind, snow, etc.)
- “Igloos” or fully enclosed tents are not permitted
- All advertising must be on the inside of the tent or structure except that sidewalk signs are allowed and tents may display the name of the business
- In the Historic District only, all tents should be clear or white
- Seasonal decorations shall be allowed without advertising (i.e. hay bales/pumpkins). To enhance a sense of unity, it is recommended that business owners coordinate decoration themes within each Recovery Zone.
- Post permit card on-site at least 24 hours before structures are erected.
- If an event is to be held after dusk, emergency lighting and exit signs are required. Verify all locations with Electrical Inspector (410-263-7946) and Fire Marshal (410-260-2202).
- Provide and verify Fire Department access to tents.
- All tents must bear their own permanent fire retardant labels
- If applicable, Liquified Petroleum Gas tanks shall be chained in the upright position to properly support them from falling. They shall be installed not less than 5 feet from the edge of the tent. In the event of a building fire in or near the recovery zones, please note that the Fire Department MAY cut the tents or poles in order to gain access to the buildings.
Safety Considerations: Follow these additional safety considerations to ensure responsible operations:
- Heating equipment must be shown on site plans and product specification information must be submitted with the permit application
- The recommended heating method is a forced air gas heater placed outside the tent with a diffuser that blows heat under the tent side.
- Electrically-powered heating devices are permitted; they must be installed by a licensed electrical contractor, who must obtain an electrical permit. Electrical heating equipment must be marked “UL listed” or “UL classified” All cords must be covered or fastened down.
- Gas heaters or any device with an open flame is prohibited inside a tent or covered area.
- Operators shall abide by any recommended safety guidelines issued with a specific product (see the product's operations manual)
- Heating equipment shall be unplugged or disconnected for overnight storage, and employees shall be trained in proper installation of fuel tanks and in detecting leaks
- Propane heaters shall be used in the manner approved by the specific product manufacturer's guideline.
- Establishment shall maintain clearance between heaters and all other objects, including tent sides. Required minimum clearance distance depends on the heating device.
- Outdoor spaces with heating devices must keep devices away from combustible materials, such as tents, at all times
- Enclosed areas must have clearly marked entrances and exits
- Provide at least one 2A:10BC rated fire extinguisher for each tent less than 60' x 70'. Larger tents shall have at least two 4A:10BC or four 2A:10BC rated extinguishers.
- Restaurants will need inclement weather plans in writing and trained staff to prevent any injuries in storms, snow, or other unsafe situations. The tent applicant is responsible for all snow and ice removal from the tent. Please coordinate with the Department of Public Works for more information about inclement weather plans (410-263-7949)
- Restaurants will need to ensure that the building numbers are visible outside the tents from the street
- A clear path for egress must be maintained at all times.
- All propane cylinders (D size) must be secured. Contact Fire Marshal (410-260-2202).