City of Sarasota expands outdoor dining options for local restaurants during public health emergency

New free, temporary permit application process implemented

As a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, outdoor tables at dining establishments no longer can be spaced close together, as they have been in the past on Main Street in Sarasota. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

The City of Sarasota has created a new, temporary outdoor café permit “in an effort to aid local restaurants with a speedy economic recovery from the COVID-19 public health emergency,” the city announced on May 13.

The permit allows a restaurant to expand or add new outdoor seating arrangements to accommodate recommended social distancing standards, the release explains. “It also eases some of the requirements under the traditional sidewalk café permit, including allowing for temporary seating in designated parking spaces,” the release adds.

No fee is charged in conjunction with filing the application, which is available online (click on “Form M2”), the release says. Physical copies are also available for pickup in the first-floor lobby of the City Hall Annex, which is located at 1565 First St. in downtown Sarasota, the release adds.

“The streamlined permitting process includes an expedited review of completed applications, with a goal of having them processed as quickly as within 24 hours of submission,” the release points out.

For questions, a person may contact the Development Applications coordinator at or call 941-263-6451.