Red Flag Warning for parts of the East Bay starting 11PM Tuesday 8/17 night and lasting until Wednesday 8/18 at 3PM.

Temporary Outdoor Dining & Retail in Parking Lots & Other Private Spaces

The City of Oakland is providing opportunities for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to utilize privately-owned outdoor areas, including parking lots, for outdoor dining and retail uses.

NOTE: Effective Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 in accordance with the latest Alameda County Shelter in Place Order, applications for temporary outdoor dining have resumed.


Photo of downtown Oakland City Center Plaza. Courtesy Aaron Lehmer-Chang.

The City of Oakland is providing opportunities for economic revitalization and community engagement through creative and flexible uses of privately-owned parking lots and other open outdoor areas. The initiative streamlines permitting requirements to provide additional space for Oakland restaurants and retail businesses to operate as allowed by modifications to Alameda County's Shelter-in-Place order.


  1. Support local restaurants and retailers:
    • Provide quick response to businesses who want to use privately-owned parking lots and other property areas to accommodate COVID-19 physical distance guidelines
  2. Support Oakland residents:
    • Increase outdoor activity for Oakland residents and visitors while maintaining physical distancing
    • Foster renewed community spirit, connection and engagement within Oakland neighborhoods
  3. Ensure and advance racial equity:
    • Advance racial equity for and prioritize vulnerable businesses of color
    • Ensure business owners receive necessary technical support to take advantage of proposed city initiatives
    • Reduce administrative barriers to participate in City program

Get Started

The application form for this initiative is below, along with links to the latest County Order and related resources. Get started right away by preparing the following:

  1. Prepare a Site Plan for your café or merchandise display
    Plan how many tables and chairs or display stands you can reasonably fit in the portion of the privately-owned parking lot or other private property area dedicated to such use without blocking any pedestrian path. Note any items currently in these spaces. Remember, you must keep six feet of pedestrian path clear for accessibility in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  2. Photograph your business
    Show all entrances to the business and the private outdoor areas, including parking lots, on the same or adjacent property. Take additional photos as needed.

  3. Guarantee social distancing and sanitary conditions
    It is essential that you have a plan, supplies, and staffing in place ahead of time to ensure the health and safety of your customers and your employees. Your plan should clearly state how you will clean and sanitize furniture and other high-touch areas after each use.

Outdoor Dining Requirements & Alcohol Sales

For full details on outdoor dining and alcohol sale requirements or to apply for these temporary outdoor activities, please visit Alameda County's website.

Application Form

Ready to get started? First, make sure you are registered and activated at our Online Permit Center. For instructions, please visit our Planning & Building Video Tutorials webpage. There is no charge for this application.


· Submit a Zoning Worksheet through our Online Permit Center
· In the Worksheet, upload your completed Outdoor Dining & Retail Application Form, site plans and photos


Once we receive your application, staff will review your documents for completeness. If further information is needed, a planner will contact you at the email address provided. For the latest processing estimates, please see our Average Permit Processing Turnaround Times webpage.


Call (510) 238-3911 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal.

Reopening Resources

Related Flex Streets Pages

Businesses may also apply to operate outdoor retail and dining in parking lanes, sidewalks, traffic lanes, and approved public properties under the City's Flex Streets initiative.


Jul 11, 2020

Statement from the City of Oakland on Outdoor Dining

Late last night, (Friday, July 10), Alameda County issued a press release regarding updated State-issued guidance, dated July 9, stating that outdoor dining is prohibited in non-variance counties, which includes Alameda County. While Alameda County’s Health Officer Order had allowed for outdoor dining, the press release states that under this stricter State guidance, all restaurants, wineries, and bars in Alameda County may only be open for drive-through or pick-up/delivery options.

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