COVID-19 Temporary Permits for Outdoor Seating

COVID-19 Temporary Permitting for Outdoor Dining Expansions for Restaurants and Bars

Due to COVID-19, the City of Rohnert Park is creating a temporary program to allow restaurants and bars to operate in outdoor settings adjacent to their businesses. The intent of the program is to allow for greater physical distancing and safety for patrons due to Sonoma County’s public health order to allow restaurants and bars to resume sit-down service.  While final rules and regulations are still in development, proposals will include expansion into designated outdoor areas such as adjacent parking lots, and business outdoor and business sidewalk areas.

As part of the Rohnert Park’s dedicated customer service approach, Development Services staff will answer questions to assist you with navigating applicable rules and regulations.  The goal is to create a streamlined permitting process, while ensuring that mobility and safety remain top priorities.

Who is Eligible?

Restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets, coffee shops, bars, taverns, brew pubs, breweries, microbreweries, distiller pubs, wineries, tasting rooms and other similar places of public accommodation offering food, beverages, or alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

Allowed Uses of Outdoor Areas

Outdoor patios established under this program can only be used for sit-down down dining or customer pick-up and carry-out service. They cannot be used for activities that would promote congregating or involve shared equipment, including but not limited to:Outdoor dining area

  • Standing areas
  • Live entertainment
  • Outdoor games
  • Movies
  • Broadcast sports
  • Loudspeaker call systems
  • Pets, except services animals allowed under the Americans with Disabilities Act

The outdoor area may include temporary tables, benches, chairs, and shade devices, and must contain temporary railings and other means of containment and separation between patrons and the public.  All furnishings and lighting must be easily removed at the end of the day.   Depending on what you are installing, electrical, building, engineering or fire permits may be needed.  Additionally, if the outdoor area includes expansion into the parking lot, safety measures (such as signage, traffic control, barricades, and barriers) are required to ensure mobility and safety for both patrons and the public.

Eligible businesses can use the Zoning and Land Use application to submit an outdoor expansion proposal to the City.  Considerations for every proposal will again include safety, mobility and local and emergency access.  All current health orders issued by the Sonoma County Health Officer shall apply including all recommended guidelines for social distancing, sanitary and hygiene practice, per Appendix A of the Health Order C19-15.  All applications must be accompanied by the following:

  • Detailed narrative and site plan describing the outdoor dining operation to include, but not limited, to the following:
    • Hours of operation. Outdoor patios opened under this program must close by 10:00 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and by 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays;
    • Provide detailed location of outdoor expansion area (e.g. parking lot, sidewalk adjacent to business, other outdoor open areas of the business).  Provide location of any bar areas and any railings, fences, patio/shade coverings, heating elements or other temporary fixtures to be installed. All establishments with outdoor dining area shall provide a physical barrier surrounding said area and that barrier shall not exceed thirty-six inches in height per the City’s zoning code.
    • Proposed number and location of outdoor tables and chairs at least 6 feet apart measured between the closest chair at one table to the closest chair at the next;
    • Will alcohol be served?  Does this business have a retail food (business license) or liquor license issued by the City of Rohnert and Sonoma County Alcohol Beverage Control (see Alcohol licensing requirements below);
    • Lighting Plan – Lighting standards and devices as well as any temporary electrical hookups must meet the provisions of the Electrical Code; and
    • Signage - Signage directing the public to restroom facilities shall be clear and visible.  At least one handicapped restroom facility must be provided with clear and visible directional signage.
  • Certificate of Liability Insurance – An endorsement of the permit applicants’ insurance policy in the amount of one million dollars, naming the City of Rohnert Park as an additional insured;
  • Check/Credit card in the amount of $159.00.

    In no instance shall any of the following occur:

  • No outdoor dining area shall block any accessible parking space;
  • The use of extension cords or any other “trip hazard” device shall not be allowed;
  • No heating apparatus, open flame, pop up tent structures shall be allowed unless expressly approved in writing by the Department of Public Safety.

Alcohol Licensing

If you will be serving alcohol, you will need to obtain Temporary Catering Authorization for Covid 19 at www.abc.ca.gov. ABC requires you to get authorization from the City and Law Enforcement. Mail the application, a diagram, and $100.00 to request the premise expansion at ABC, 50 D St., Rm #130, Santa Rosa, CA  95404.

Resources to Help you Safely Reopen

To prepare for safely reopening in compliance with the Health Order, we also encourage business owners to visit the Sonoma County Economic Development Board’s SoCo Launch website. SoCo Launch contains mitigation strategies, checklists, and self-certification assessments for various industries to safely reopen according to the Order: VISIT SOCO LAUNCH.

For further information/questions please follow up with a staff member (707) 588-2231 or planning@rpcity.org.

City Hall

Second Floor
130 Avram Avenue
Rohnert Park, California 94928
 

Contact Us
Phone: (707) 588-2231
Fax: (707) 794-9242
Email: planning@rpcity.org 


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