Re-Opening Guidelines for Restaurants in Pinellas County

In accordance with Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order and “Phase One” reopening plans, restaurants are permitted to re-open beginning Monday, May 4, 2020, with interior dining room service at 25% capacity and unrestricted exterior seating, as long as the appropriate social distancing of six feet maintained between persons/parties. Understanding that the business community may have questions regarding the impact to operations, the County has prepared this informational sheet to provide additional guidance.

Please direct additional questions to the County at 727-464-3888.

Indoor Operations

Per the governor’s executive order, the six-foot separation requirement does not apply to cohabitating persons, family units, or roommates; however, the County is recommending the following:

  • Tables and seating should be wiped down with disinfectant wipes between customers.
  • Restaurants are encouraged to use disposable menus or clean menus after each use.
  • All restrooms, waiting room areas, bars, or other common areas shall be cleaned and sanitized on a more frequent schedule.
  • Points of ingress and egress shall not be blocked for any reason and all ADA requirements must be maintained.
  • Additional guidance can be found from the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Outdoor Operations

Due to social distancing requirements of the governor’s executive order that resulted in limiting interior dining capacity, the County understands that some restaurant establishments will seek alternatives to their existing seating configurations by extending operations to outdoor areas including patios, parking lots, open space areas, etc. In an effort to ensure that the above social distancing requirements are met, while encouraging restaurant establishments to resume operations, the County is providing the following outdoor operations allowances where they may not be permitted by code otherwise. These guidelines will be in effect until state of emergency has been lifted.

  • Occupancy: Outdoor operations cannot result in a total occupancy greater than the originally approved occupancy limit for the restaurant, without further plan review and approval by Pinellas County.
  • ADA Requirements: All temporary outdoor operations shall ensure an accessible path is available.
  • Life Safety Requirements: At least one 2A10BC rated fire extinguisher shall be provided for the outdoor operations using any number of tents. Points of ingress and egress shall not be blocked for any reason.
  • Tents: Without a permit, the maximum tent size shall be 10’ x 10’. Seven (7) is the maximum number of tents permitted per restaurant. Any tents over 100 square feet must meet Pinellas County’s permitting requirements. Tent rental companies are responsible for securing tents so they do not pose danger to people or property due to inclement weather.
  • Temporary Shade Structures: Such as umbrellas, awnings, sun shades, tarps, etc. may be used as long as they are properly secured during operational hours and fully removed during non-operational hours.
  • Parking Lots and Drive Aisles: ADA parking spaces must remain available and accessible for vehicular parking. New outdoor operations, such as seating may be placed in parking spaces, but cannot interfere with normal vehicle traffic movement including fire department access to the building, fire hydrants, and/or other firefighting equipment.
  • Private Property: Outdoor operations must be entirely on private property (not on a public sidewalk, alley, or street) unless prior approval is obtained from Pinellas County.
  • Health Department Requirements: Food preparation must be done inside the restaurant kitchen facilities and all Health Department requirement must be met.
  • Alcohol Service: All service areas must be defined and in accordance with state licensing requirements.

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