COVID-19 Updates: See cityofberkeley.info/covid19 for news, information, and status of City services.

Everyone is required to stay home, except for essential needs. When out, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often. Learn more at cityofberkeley.info/covid19. City offices are closed to the public. Some services are available remotely.

The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

City Council Live Stream: Please visit https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx

ZAB Live Stream: Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

PG&E is reporting a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley and many City buildings, including the Finance Customer Service Center and the Permit Service Center. Call respective City services for further details, or check the PG&E outage page. Power is expected to return by 12:45pm. Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

COVID-19: Outdoor commerce and dining

The City of Berkeley phased reopening Health Order allows for both indoor and outdoor retail, outdoor dining, and outdoor non-contact fitness classes to operate in Berkeley.

Outdoor dining was briefly suspended due to a State mandate. As of July 15, Alameda County has received permission from the State to allow outdoor dining to resume.

Outdoor commerce permits

The City offers several options for permitting outdoor commerce in the public-right-of-way.

COVID-19 requirements and operating standards

All businesses operating for outdoor commerce and dining must comply with state and local COVID-19 safety measures. Specifically, they must:

Find more information on COVID-19 requirements for businesses, including downloadable signage on face coverings and social distancing, on our guidance and materials for businesses webpage.

Restaurants

Restaurants providing outdoor dining must have all necessary permits to provide outdoor food service and comply with safety guidelines provided by Environmental Health.

Additionally, restaurants must ensure outdoor dining areas to support social distancing mandates:

  • arrange tables so that no customer is sitting within six feet of any customer at a separate table
  • lines for pickup or takeaway service must be in a separate area from the outdoor dining
  • host stands must be located at the entry of the outdoor dining area so as to prohibit patrons from unnecessarily walking through the outdoor dining area
  • alcohol may only be sold in conjunction with a meal
  • bar areas must remain closed to customers
  • patrons are required to wear a face covering except when eating at a dining table
  • entertainment events are not allowed

Permits for outdoor commerce and dining

The City offers three types of permits that can be used to allow expanded outdoor commerce and dining in the public right-of-way. To support local businesses during the pandemic, the City has streamlined the permitting process. These changes were adopted by the City Council on June 16, 2020.

The Office of Economic Development is available to assist applicants who are trying to determine which program best meets their functional needs.

Street Closure Permit

A street closure permit allows the use of a full travel lane. This can be used for outdoor dining or other outdoor commerce.

Individual businesses may apply for a street closure permit independently. Businesses or merchant groups may also work collaboratively on a shared application to close one or more blocks to traffic.

Apply for a street closure permit

Submit applications by email to sallen@cityofberkeley.info.

Street closure applicants will need to:

  • demonstrate an adequate circulation or traffic control plan
  • provide an ADA-compliant path of travel throughout the event
  • provide access to restrooms and handwashing facilities

Associated sound and food permits related to outdoor commerce street closures are coordinated between the Special Events office and the Environmental Health division. An application should begin with the street closure permit first.

A note on block parties: Block party permits are for residential use only and cannot be used for commercial applications. All commercial applications, including religious gatherings, must obtain a street closure special event permit.

Sidewalk Seating Permit

For applicants wishing to serve food and/or alcohol or increase their outdoor dining capacity a sidewalk seating application is likely the most appropriate.

Apply for a sidewalk seating permit

Submit applications by email to planningpermits@cityofberkeley.info.

You will need to complete the following steps for your application:

  1. Create a site plan
  2. Provide certificate of liability insurance
  3. Submit application to planningpermits@cityofberkeley.info

This permitting process flow chart provides an overview of the application process.

Parklets

For applicants that may want to provide extra outdoor space for queuing, or "to-go" food consumption, construction of a parklet may be a better fit.

Apply for a parklet permit

Submit applications by email to permits@cityofberkeley.info.

You will need to complete the following steps for your application:

  1. Create a site plan
  2. Provide certificate of liability insurance
  3. Submit attached application to permits@cityofberkeley.info

Technical assistance with design and permitting

City of Berkeley staff are prepared to work with applicants once an initial application (even if incomplete) has been submitted.

Office of Economic Development staff are also available for scheduled pre-application site visits to provide feedback and discuss options for sidewalk seating, parklets, and street closures. To schedule an appointment, email oedmailbox@cityofberkeley.info using the subject line "Outdoor commerce site visit request."

Last updated July 15, 2020


Questions? Contact covid19@cityofberkeley.info.

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