Restaurants can convert up to 25% of the business’s dedicated parking spaces into temporary outdoor dining

On May 20, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen announced details of Safer at Home Phase 2 to lift some COVID-19 restrictions beginning Friday, May 22, at 5 p.m.

Business Requirements

Under Phase 2, businesses and organizations should follow certain guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Ensure social distancing by arranging tables and seating to achieve at least 6-foot separation between parties for indoor and outdoor dining.
  • Each group of people sitting at a counter should be separated by six (6) feet.
  • Permit no more than 50% of maximum occupancy as stated in fire capacity. Restaurants may permit up to 12 people per 1,000 feet if there is not a fire code number available.
  • Post a reduced “Emergency Maximum Capacity” sign in a visible space.
  • Post signage reminding people about social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others). Know Your W’s sign templates are available in English and Spanish online.
  • Mark six (6) feet of spacing in lines at high-traffic areas for customers, such as any cash register or any place where customers wait to be seated.

Restaurant Occupancy Guidelines

Phase 2 states that restaurants can permit no more than 50% of maximum occupancy as stated in fire capacity.

Under the city’s Temporary Outdoor Dining Guidelines, restaurants may convert up to 25% of the business’s dedicated parking spaces into temporary outdoor dining. This could allow for more dining capacity while complying with the City of Charlotte Zoning Ordinance and Governor Cooper’s Phase 2 requirements. The total capacity for indoor and outdoor dining may not exceed 100% of the fire capacity code. Total temporary outdoor dining may not exceed 49 people.

Restaurants interested in participating in the program can register online. There is no permit fee to enter the program. The program will be in place for 90 days as of May 22, 2020, or the full lifting of the Governor’s phased reopening, whichever is sooner.

Restaurants can also expand sidewalk dining during this period without a permit fee as long requirements established by the Charlotte Department of Transportation are met to maintain pedestrian access and safety.

Temporary outdoor dining must comply with the City of Charlotte Noise Ordinance and not be in use between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.


A Streatery is a small public space serving as an extension of the sidewalk over an adjacent on-street parking space or any other use of the street for dining. Streateries offer a way to use parking or other underutilized street space for dining to contribute to an active, accessible and vibrant urban environment. Streateries must meet eligibility requirements, follow the application process, and adhere to installation guidelines.

Learn more about Streatery program eligibility and apply today.

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