The City of Napa and partners have identified expanding outdoor dining into public and private spaces as a key initiative in supporting our business community reopen following COVID-19 temporary stay at home orders and physical distancing protocols. Napa has entered into the “Expanded Phase 2” of the State’s Reopening Plan, which allows for dine-in restaurant service indoors and outdoors. The potential to expand the size and capacity of outdoor dining areas has been a well-received and welcomed idea.
The City received feedback from the Downtown Napa Association (DNA), Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Advisory Group, the Small Business Recovery Taskforce (SBRT) members, and other stakeholders that among the most pressing needs for the business community is helping restaurants replace lost seating capacity due to physical distancing protocols. Therefore, the City’s main efforts have focused on streamlining the permitting process for using public and private space for outdoor dining.
Planning Division - Streamlined Permitting
The Planning Division has been working with Public Works and other City teams to reconfigure the outdoor dining permitting process with the goal of simplifying the application requirements and streamlining the approval process. Important aspects of the outdoor dining permit include:
- Allowing restaurants to replace lost seating due to physical distancing protocols
- Addressing design and site maintenance requirements to ensure that the expanded or new dining areas are an asset to the community and allow safe public access past the outdoor dining areas
- The streamlined permits will be approved with an expiration date of December 31, 2020 to provide an opportunity to assess the success of the dining areas and to make changes
Public Works – Technical Support
Public Works’ traditional role in outdoor dining is the right of way encroachment permit or licensing agreement (complicated permanent installations). Public Works and Planning want to test a single permit that includes design review and issues the permit as the end result. Additionally, Public Works is making team members available to help restaurants assess the physical parameters for outdoor dining expansion focused on ensuring that new or expanded outdoor dining areas meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) spacing requirements and generally meet City’s established guidelines. Restaurants are encouraged to contact the City by email ([email protected]) for more information about this program.
Economic Development - Partnerships and Communication
The Economic Development Division has been working with the DNA, the Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Advisory Group, and the SBRTF to communicate the opportunity of outdoor dining to the business community as well as the necessary permitting process.