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Temporary Outdoor Business Areas Allowed

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In response to the impact that COVID-19 has had on certain business operations including indoor dining, the City Council  approved an Emergency Economic Recovery Ordinance to allow for outdoor business operations. The Ordinance authorizes the temporary closure of certain streets, on-street parking, and public parking as well as temporarily suspends Municipal Code regulations in order to allow outdoor dining and outdoor business uses in the public right of way or on private property.


  • Local Emergency Order Establish a Temporary Pedestrian Promenade on Portions of State Street, May 22, 2020, click here

  • Ordinance No. 5944, allowing temporary expansion of existing permitted business uses into specific areas of adjacent public streets, sidewalks, parking spaces, and lots, as well as into required, private off-street parking and set-back areas, May 28, 2020, click here

  • Ordinance No. 5963, extending the term, modifying operating hours and amending Ord. No. 5944, August 12, 2020, click here.

  • New: Ordinance No. 5993, extending the term for one year until March 8, 2022 and allowing live music within outdoor dining areas and amending Ord. No. 5944, February 23, 2021, click here.


The emergency ordinance term allowing outdoor business activities has been extended from March 8, 2021 until March 8, 2022 as the local emergency due to COVID-19 continues.


All locations within the City of Santa Barbara are included in the Ordinance. However, certain sections of the City (Central Business District, Funk Zone and Coast Village Road) are allowed to have extended operating hours of the outdoor dining uses until 12:30 a.m. as outlined in the Rules and Regulations which can be located here.

View area maps at these links: 

This webpage provides design guidelines and directions on establishing a temporary outdoor dining and other business areas in the various locations that are adjacent to foodservice businesses such as sidewalks, on-street parking spaces, on the portion of closed State Street and other approved street closures as well as on private property. 

Businesses should also be aware of other land use regulatory or licensing requirements that may prohibit operating outdoors. For instance, the State does not allow tattoo parlors or piercing studios to operate outdoors per their licensing conditions. Other personal care businesses such as barbers, hair salons, massage parlors, and nail salons have been permitted to operate outdoors. Please see the California Department of Consumer Affairs Guidance on Performing Personal Care Services Outdoors, July 20, 2020, click here.

How to Re-Open Businesses

Before any business can reopen in Santa Barbara County, they are required to review state and local guidance, complete a COVID-19 Prevention Plan, and self-certify that they can open safely; all of which can be found at

Upon completion of the self-certification, businesses receive a certificate to print and display attesting to a safe and clean environment for workers and customers. The County requires that ALL businesses, whether you've been open or are just now allowed to open, to complete the self-certification program: 

For information on the County's public health orders and the State’s industry specific industry guidance on how to reopen, please refer to the:

For general questions about Stage reopening and general COVID-19 information, the public may call the Santa Barbara County Call Center at (833) 688-5551.


Expand Your Business Outdoors! Revised Guidelines for Spring

Adhere to the guidelines for the following outdoor expansions which reference outdoor dining but can be followed for other types of business uses: 

Foodservice Businesses Seeking Alcohol License for Newly Established Outdoor Dining Areas

The City has established a dedicated email address or telephone number to respond to foodservice business inquiries at or (805) 560-7520.


Outdoor Dining Areas Design Guidelines and Approvals

  • Any foodservice business with an Alcoholic Beverage Control License wishing to expand their Planned License Diagram into the public space
  • ALSO, any public-facing retail alcohol establishment that can document financial relationship with a bona fide eating establishment or meal service vendor
  • While the State maintains your privilege to sell alcohol – The City governs the business practices in which you serve alcohol
  • Foodservice businesses seeking to serve alcohol in newly established outdoor dining areas must apply for and obtain a temporary catering ABC license. To apply for a temporary catering ABC license follow the following steps.

1. Go to website: ABC.CA.GOV
2. Scroll down to “COVID-19 Temporary Catering Authorization Application
3. Hover over the words with your mouse and click on the link
4. STOP – save the application to your computer so you are not filling the application on the browser 
5. Also, Complete ABC Form 253, the form can be accessed at this link or can be located found at

If a hospitality establishment such as a wine tasting room or brewery is seeking to have an outdoor dining area in which they desire to have alcohol service but does not normally provide meal service as part of their operation must have a contractual relationship with a third party meal service vendor.

If you are entering into an agreement with another person/entity for meal service, you must also submit a copy of the agreement or contract which establishes the details of this business relationship. The State of California ABC Office is currently closed so the license application must be mailed to their office at:

1000 South Hill Road, Suite 310
Ventura, CA 93003
Phone is (805) 289-0100
Email is



Last Updated: Mar 25, 2021
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