Outdoor Dining 

General Requirements

The City is allowing temporary outdoor dining to occur on sidewalks, in on-street public parking areas, and/or in parking areas in privately owned shopping centers within the City of San Mateo. Outdoor dining may only take place when allowed by state and county health orders.

If you are located in another city within the County of San Mateo, you must contact that agency directly for local regulations. 

Specific guidelines for each of these locations are outlined in our Guidelines for Outdoor Dining. Please review the guidelines before moving forward with outdoor dining. These guidelines are temporary in nature and will only be in place during this time of restricted restaurant operations or up until December 31, 2021.

Restaurants must also follow guidelines set by the State of California, as outlined in the State’s Industry Guidance.   

Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit during COVID-19

The City created a streamlined no-fee Temporary Permit Application for Outdoor Dining in the public right-of-way on sidewalks or within parking spaces. The City is not accepting new permits at this point in time. Already approved permits are valid through December 31, 2021.

A permit is required if:

  • The restaurant plans to provide alcohol service to their patrons.
  • The restaurant is creating dining areas in public on-street parking spaces outside of the City’s common parklet areas or street closures in Downtown San Mateo.
  • A restaurant is constructing a custom-designed parklet in the public right of way. Please review the Parklet Program Guidelines for more information on requirements for these structures.

A permit is not required if:

  • The restaurant is providing sidewalk dining without alcohol service.
  • The restaurant uses the common dining areas created by the City in public on-street parking spaces in Downtown San Mateo, without alcohol service and without any built structures.

Parklet Installations after December 31, 2021

The City has approved a Parklet Program for businesses wishing to retain or install a parklet after end of the Temporary Outdoor Dining Program. Please review the attached Parklet Program Guidelines for information on design criteria for these parklets installations.  

All parklets that are currently permitted under the Temporary Outdoor Dining Program will need to apply for a new Permit to retain their parklet after December 31, 2021 and will need to make adjustments to their parklet to conform with these new guidelines.  Additionally, the City will be charging fees for parklet installations after December 31, 2021 in the order of $500 per permit application plus $250 per parking space used in the parklet.

Questions? 

Contact: 

Jennifer Chen             Economic Development Manager jchen@cityofsanmateo.org  (650) 522-7009

Important Documents:

Guidelines for Temporary Outdoor Dining

Parklet Program Guidelines

Parklet Permit Application