Temporary Outdoor Dining On Private Property

In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 61 and an ordinance to authorize the City Manager to approve temporary outdoor dining permits on May 14, 2020, restaurants may open using outdoor dining areas on private property without further documentation from the City.  However, many inquiries have been received regarding the use of temporary tents for outdoor dining purposes. Temporary tents may be used on private property to help provide comfort to patrons provided that the tents meet the following criteria:
    1. A building permit is required and must be obtained for all tents or tent areas larger than 900 square feet or have an occupant load/seating capacity of more than 50. (No permit is required for any tent or tent areas that are below both of these requirements)

    2. The tent must open on a minimum of 3 sides.

    3. Total seating in the tent must be less than 50% of the restaurant establishment.

    4. Tents must be flame/fire resistant with appropriate documentation or labeling.

    5. Generally, tents shall be located no less than 20’ from any building. Exceptions may be granted by the Fire Marshal’s Office.

    6. No Cooking in the tent.

    7. Tents shall not block fire lanes, fire equipment such as fire hydrants and Fire Department connections, exits, and any other marked or designated areas for life safety or ADA accessibility.

    8. All other requirements of Executive Order 61 and all other applicable codes and ordinances are met.  

    A permit issued by the Fire Marshal’s Office may be required for certain tents. Please contact them at (757) 385-4228 for more information.

    Questions about Building Permit requirements can be made at (757) 385-7003.

    Please note that all tents, not previously approved, are required to be removed once the Statewide Declaration of Public Health Emergency expires. Permits may be obtained in the future to permanently add outdoor covered seating that meet the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance and the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. 

Temporary Outdoor Dining On Public Property

Per the ordinance to authorize the City Manager to approve temporary outdoor dining permits  adopted on May 14, 2020, the City of Virginia Beach is offering Temporary Outdoor Dining Permits to provide additional opportunity for existing restaurant establishments located in the City of Virginia Beach to expand their services outdoor within an approved area in the public property in accordance with Governor's Executive Order 61 and Guidelines For All Business Sectors.


Fully read, complete and sign this application  and submit it with the requested attachments via email to:EParker@vbgov.comSGAOffice@vbgov.com.

After approval, contact the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health to permit entry and inspection of the outdoor dining area at tamara.hartless@vdh.virginia.gov.   

Other Important Things To Know

  • Prior to operation, a physical inspection of the outdoor dining area will be required for approval.

  • No fee shall be assessed for the processing of permit applications, and it is the desire of the City Council that City staff prioritize and process applications promptly.

  • Temporary Outdoor Dining Permits issued shall automatically expire thirty (30) days after the end of the Statewide Declaration of Public Health Emergency unless sooner terminated.  The continued occupancy of City property after revocation may be remedied in the same manner as authorized for unlawful encroachments.

  • Temporary Outdoor Dining Permits may be revoked at any time if the requirements stated on the application are not met or upheld during operation or if the public property becomes needed for any public purpose. 

  • No tents will be permitted in the public right of way