00 - LA Al Fresco: Sidewalk Dining Program Rules and Guidelines

Revised on 07-15-2021

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mayor's Office has given the Bureau of Engineering the authority to issue the following program(s):

  1. Sidewalk Dining Temporary Use Authority

For the Sidewalk Dining Temporary Use Authority, restaurant / business owners are allowed to request this Sidewalk Dining through the LA Al Fresco program.  If a Restaurant / Business Owner desires to maintain sidewalk dining privileges after this program terminates or desires additional amenities not allowed through the Program within the sidewalk area, it will be necessary to obtain a Revocable Permit per the 02-Sidewalk Dining Guidelines in this manual. For additional outside dining information including utilizing areas outside of the sidewalk area, please refer to the  LA Al Fresco website. 

Restaurant/Business Owners interested in applying for this Authority should go to the  LA Al Fresco website to apply.  Additionally, LA Al Fresco FAQs related to the temporary authority can be found on the LA Al Fresco Website.

If the Restaurant / Business Owner desires to maintain outside dining privileges once the temporary authorization program ends, it will be necessary to obtain a Revocable Permit.

Sidewalk Dining Temporary Use Authority Program Requirements


Restaurant / Business Owner, or their authorized representative, will be required to complete an on-line request in order to participate in this program.  This program is currently set to expire on September 1, 2021, unless further amended.  Updated authorization certificates with the new expiration date can be found in the LA Al Fresco website. In addition to completing the online application, Restaurant / Business Owner must follow the requirements shown below:

  1. Hold Harmless: Restaurant / Business Owner agrees to defend, indemnify and hold the City of Los Angeles harmless for any loss or liability, including but not limited to, damage or injury related to the encroachments or this temporary authorization.
  2. Liability Insurance:  Restaurant / Business Owner shall maintain sufficient liability insurance in an amount not less than $300,000.  
  3. City Business License:  Restaurant / Business Owner shall possess a valid City of Los Angeles Business License.
  4. Maintenance of Area:  The sidewalk within or adjacent to the dining area shall be maintained in a clean and orderly manner at all times.  All food or drink spills, and trash of any kind, must be immediately removed from the sidewalk area.
  5. Encroachments (must be removed during non-business hours) 
    1. Allowable
      1. Tables
      2. Chairs
      3. Umbrellas
        1. Must have a 7-foot minimum vertical clearance, shall not overhang the pedestrian access route, and shall be in a stable base to prevent accidental or wind-blown tipping over)
      4. Shade Structures and Canopies
        1. Should not have more than one vertical side and should not exceed 700 square feet in size.  Shade structures and canopies larger than 700 square feet require permits from the Los Angeles Fire and Building and Safety Departments.  

          Exception: The aggregate area of multiple canopies placed side by side with a fire break clearance of 12 feet between each canopy may exceed 700 square feet total without requiring permits.  For additional guidelines and to apply for a permit please visit www.lafd.org.
      5. Heaters:  Electric and propane heaters are allowed to be used in the public right-of-way. A permit from LADBS or LAFD is not required for heater use so long as restaurants observe the below code and safety requirements:
        1. Electric Heaters (Cord Connected):
          1. Electric heaters must be a certified piece of equipment and the authorized L.A. Al Fresco authority holders must follow manufacturer listed specifications for use of the heater
          2. Electric heaters that are listed and certified by a recognized testing laboratory are allowed underneath umbrellas, awnings, canopies, and roofs. Please note, electric heaters must be used in accordance with their listings. A product’s listing and certification can be verified by reviewing the label adhered to the product itself
          3. Electric heaters must be plugged into a properly installed outlet. Code requirements do not allow electrical heaters to be powered by an extension cord. Therefore, electric heaters work best in outdoor dining areas that sit directly adjacent to a building.
          4. Cords should be covered by ADA compliant cord protection ramps in order to mitigate trip hazards
          5. It is recommended that electric heaters be placed at least 5 feet from combustible materials and must be situated at least one foot from fencing
        2. Open Flame and Propane Heaters (Stand-Alone):
          1. Stand-alone open flame and propane heaters should not be placed beneath any type of cover including umbrellas, awnings, canopies, roofs, etc. 
          2. Stand-alone open flame and propane heaters should be placed at least 5 feet from buildings, exits, tents, and any combustibles (including fencing materials).
    2. Unallowable:  Any items not specifically listed in Section A as "Allowable" are not allowed under the Program (items below may be allowed by obtaining a Revocable Permit per the 02-Sidewalk Dining Guidelines).  These include the following:
      1. Planters 
      2. Railings/Fences/Barriers
      3. Fans
      4. Signs (no advertising is allowed in the public right-of-way per LAMC 67.02 - Construction of Signs on Streets or Other Public Property)
      5. Podiums
      6. Full shade or canopy enclosures
    3. Location:  Allowable encroachments shall be limited to the restaurant frontage only, unless business owner obtains written consent from adjoining business owner(s). 
    4. Placement Restrictions for allowable encroachments shall include:
      1. 5-foot wide pedestrian access route shall be maintained, generally utilizing the most passable portion of the sidewalk
      2. 5-foot distance from edge of driveway apron
      3. 24-inches from back of curb face
      4. 5-foot distance from any ADA ramp
      5. Bus Stops and Loading Zones shall not be impeded at any time.  No encroachments shall come within 6-feet of a public transportation purpose or loading zone
  6. Interference with Other Permitted/Authorized Activities: Restaurant / Business Owner agrees not to interfere with other permitted/authorized activities in the right of way adjacent to the property, including interfering with Pedestrian Access Routes (PAR).
  7. Other Requirements and Guidelines:  The sidewalk dining area shall comply with requirements and guidelines from the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Public Health, and all others as applicable.
  8. Alcohol:  Serving alcohol requires a Conditional Use Permit from the Department of City Planning and a permit from the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. Because alcohol falls under the jurisdiction of those entities and not the Board, sidewalk dining under this program will allow for serving or possessing alcohol within the sidewalk dining area provided proper permits and/or approvals are obtained for such use from the appropriate agencies. 
  9. Smoking:  No smoking is allowed within 10 feet of the sidewalk dining area per LAMC 41.50 A.5.a and B.2.c - Smoking Prohibited in Designated Areas
  10. Noise Restrictions: All temporary outdoor areas shall operate no later than 10:30 pm if adjacent to any residential areas (this included mixed-use)
  11. Hollywood Walk of Fame Locations:  At all times, tables, chairs, and umbrellas shall stay clear a minimum of 18-inches away from the edge of the square that holds an honorees’ star
  12. Clear and Visible Posting of City-issued Identification:  Within the temporary outdoor dining area, the restaurant/business owner shall clearly and visibly post to the public identification indicating that the area is subject to the requirements and restrictions of the LA Al Fresco Program. This shall include a telephone number and an email address shall be provided for complaints or concerns regarding the operation of the temporary outdoor operations area.


Enforcement


Restaurant / Business Owner shall display/post the Sidewalk Dining Temporary Use Authority in plain view from the outside of the restaurant indicating participation in the program.   

Revocation


BOE may, at its sole discretion, revoke an Applicant's Sidewalk Dining Temporary Use Authority (not private property use) for any reason including noncompliance, unsafe conditions, or discontinuation of the program.  If the authorization is revoked, the Authority holder will be required, at no cost to the City, to remove the encroachments and return the public right-of-way to the satisfaction of the City Engineer.  StreetsLA is the physical enforcement branch of the City and will provide BOE with information related to violations.   The following is an overview of the revocation process:

  1. StreetsLA will provide the restaurant/business with a copy of the citation for noted violation(s).  If there is more than one violation noted on the citation, this will count as only one violation.  The citations will include:
    1. Date and time of the violation(s)
    2. Details about the violation(s)
  2. If a restaurant/business accumulates three citations, StreetsLA will send BOE, via email, copies of the three citations and a recommendation for revocation.
  3. BOE will review the citations and make a final determination on revocation.  If the Applicant wishes to appeal the revocation, they would be required to follow the Sidewalk Dining Temporary Use Authority "Appeal Process" 

NOTE:  When an Applicant applied for the initial Authority to use the public right of way for sidewalk dining privileges, they may have also been approved by LADBS and/or LADOT for Authority to operate in different areas.  BOE only would revoke the access to the public right of way.

Appeal Process


If an Applicant wishes to appeal the decision to revoke an Applicant's Sidewalk Dining Temporary Use Authority, the City Engineer will hear such appeal.  Once the City Engineer makes a decision, this decision is final.  The following is the process a revoked Applicant shall follow to appeal the revocation of their Authority:

  1. Email Permit Case Management (PCM) with the following information:
    1. Reason for each violation
    2. Any corrections made to the violations
    3. Why Applicant believes the Authority should be reinstated