COVID-19 Business Initiatives

City of Orlando temporary business assistance initiatives, including allowance of banners and signs, tents, sidewalk sales and dining without a permit will expire on August 1, 2021.

In May 2020, and multiple times throughout 2020, the Orlando City Council approved temporary actions that allowed businesses to expand their business operations, create outdoor seating and use marketing methods typically not allowed under the City of Orlando Code without needing to obtain a permit. As more people get vaccinated and positivity rates for COVID-19 continue to fall, the state and county have lifted any occupancy restrictions related to COVID-19, allowing our residents and visitors to enjoy all that Orlando has to offer at pre-COVID levels. 

With all this in mind, the City of Orlando will not extend the temporary business assistance items set to expire on August 1, 2021. In order to allow businesses to adjust their operations back to normal, the City of Orlando will implement a grace period through September 6, 2021, during which businesses will not receive code enforcement citations for any issues related to COVID-19 business temporary use items.

Expiring Temporary Business Assistance Items

Expiring temporary business assistance items include:

  • Use of banners or signs that have not been permitted according to city code
  • Tents used for outdoor sales
  • Use of parking lot for uses other than parking, including outdoor dining and sales
  • Curbside pickup
  • Sidewalk Sales/Dining. City code allows limited opportunities for seasonal sidewalk sales, usually as part of a Main Street event. Businesses can apply for a sidewalk café permit if they would like to keep their outdoor dining. See "Permits" section below for more information on how to apply for a sidewalk cafe permit.

Permits

Businesses may choose to apply for permits to continue the use of the following where allowed according to city code and zoning:

  • Sidewalk cafes – eligible businesses may apply for a sidewalk café permit. For more information, click here.
  • Parklets – qualifying downtown Orlando businesses can apply to have a parklet, where the business can expand their retail sales and restaurant seating operations into adjacent on-street public parking spaces.
  • Parking lot operations – should permanent operations be desired by a business, contact the City Planning Division for specific guidance by emailing jason.burton@orlando.gov. More permanent operations may need city planning approvals and compliance with the Building Code.

Parklet Program

The COVID-19 Parklet program is currently transitioning to a more permanent program. Downtown Orlando presently has five parklets being used by six businesses in the Thornton Park Main Street District. Due to positive feedback, the Downtown Development Board will formalize the program through relevant City Council approval and permitting procedures with each business owner executing a minor Right-of-Way encroachment agreement and City Council approval to conduct business in the Right-of-Way. 

All other COVID-19 provisions within the Downtown Entertainment District have expired.