COVID-19 Resources: City Initiatives for Businesses

Outdoor seating, sales, extra signs and 12 ft. x 12 ft. tents allowed until February 2021

As Orlando businesses reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, the city is dedicated to ensuring safe shopping experiences in a socially distant and innovative way. City businesses impacted by COVID-19 are now able to do the following in order to encourage foot traffic:

  1. Expanded Commercial Outdoor Space - expand retail sales and restaurant seating into outdoor areas, such as private parking lots and/or public rights-of-way
  2. Temporary Signage Permissions - use A-frame/menu boards, freestanding flags and banners for marketing and operations

Private Property

Before COVID-19: Typically, restaurants are permitted to create up to 25% of the gross floor area of their business as an outdoor patio or seating area without the need to provide additional parking spaces through a Zoning Official Determination (approval letter).

Temporary COVID-19 Allowance: Retail and restaurant businesses can expand into private parking lots and walkways (not public streets and sidewalks) without permits or applications, impact fees or parking requirements, if the expanded outdoor area meets the following:

  • No permanent improvements are made requiring building permits
  • In private parking lots, the location must not conflict with the traffic circulation of the site (e.g. must be located within parking spaces)
  • On private walkways, a minimum 4 ft. clear space for pedestrians is maintained
  • No outdoor loudspeakers are allowed
  • Small farmer’s market style tents, up to 12 ft. by 12 ft. in size, may be used without the need for a tent permit

For information on how to vend on public property in downtown Orlando, click here

Before COVID-19: Banners and freestanding flags are not allowed for commercial businesses.

Temporary COVID-19 Allowance: All businesses may use certain types of signage without the need for sign permits.

  • Banner sign, freestanding flag sign, and/or A-frame signs are approved. Please see below for examples.

How many signs can I have?

  • Commercial business: One of each
  • Office or industrial business: One sign of your choosing

How big can the signs be?

  • Banners are allowed a length of up to 50% of the storefront principal frontage up to a maximum of 20 ft. in length and may not exceed 5 ft. in height
  • A-frame signs must not exceed 6 sq. ft., and up to 9 sq. ft. in the downtown area
  • Flags may be up to 12 ft. in height

Where can I put these signs?

  • Banners are not allowed on city rights-of-way and must be secured to a building
  • Flag signs and A-frame signs can be located on private or public property directly in front of the business within the traditional city and specially planned areas (Main Streets, Laureate Park, Metrowest and Baldwin Park Town Centers)
  • Private Property
    • On private property, the location of the temporary sign must provide a minimum 4 ft. clear space for pedestrians on walkways
  • Public Property (sidewalks)
    • Must be removed at the end of the business day
    • The sign must be located 2 ft. behind the face of curb of the roadway, placed in the landscaped “parkstrip” area of a streetscape, or the “furniture zone” area of a hardscape streetscape treatment
      • Only allowed within the streetscape area of a street, and not within the roadway (the area that vehicles may access)
    • Must not be secured to tree guards, tree grates or disturb the sidewalk pavement within rights-of-way (e.g. bolted into the sidewalk)
    • The location must provide a minimum of 5 ft. continuous clear passage for pedestrians to traverse sidewalk areas
    • When no parkstrip or furniture zone is present (the sidewalk is adjacent to the curb), signs must be placed at least 6 ft. from the back of curb
    • Must be placed at least 6 ft. from any street corner (where the curb curves to form a corner) or any ADA ramps located at the street corner or elsewhere within rights-of-way
    • Care should be taken near curb cuts to provide proper sight lines for vehicle maneuvers consistent with the requirements of the city’s Engineering Standards Manual
    • Must not block ingress/egress into the business or an adjacent property
    • Signs within rights-of-way are only authorized for the business directly adjacent to the right-of-way (sidewalk) used. No signs are authorized in medians.

These initiatives are available through the length of the Temporary Use Permit: February 1, 2021.

For updated information on coronavirus/COVID-19, visit orlando.gov/covid19.

For questions, contact the Planner on Call at 407.246.2269 (press 1).

Click here for more information on the Curbside Pick-Up Program.

Parklets allow downtown businesses to expand their retail sales and restaurant seating operations into adjacent on-street public parking spaces. This temporary parklet program supplements the city’s initiatives to support local businesses on their path to economic recovery while fighting the pandemic.

Any restaurant or retail business within the Community Redevelopment Agency with adjacent on-street parking spaces on city right-of-way is eligible to apply. For more information, click here.

  1. Is my business allowed to be open?
    1. On Thursday, September 10, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) issued Emergency Order 2020-10 allowing bars, pubs, breweries and night clubs (deriving 50% or less of their income from food sales) to operate at 50% capacity for on-site consumption, so long as they provide seated service only, beginning Monday, September 14.
    2. Further questions for DPBR? Contact michael.johnston@myfloridalicense.com.
  2. May I use a tent within the sidewalk area directly in front of my business?
    1. No. The temporary allowances are for up to 12 ft. by 12 ft. tents on private properties
  3. May I place an A-frame sign within the on-street parking spaces in front of my business for curbside pick-up?
    1. No, but you may place as required above on sidewalk