Outdoor Dine-In Restaurant Reopening Guidelines
Restaurants located in the Town of Miami Lakes are presently approved to serve dine-in customers outdoors, with specific rules and guidelines in place to keep diners and workers safe. All Miami Lakes restaurants must follow the reopening guidelines established by Miami-Dade County, which are available for review via the link below.
Restaurant Recovery Program
To help Miami Lakes restaurants get up and running following the COVID-19 shutdown, the Town of Miami Lakes has created the Restaurant Recovery Program, which allows restaurants to temporarily add new or expand existing outdoor seating areas while meeting social distancing requirements. To learn more about the Restaurant Recovery Program, including how to apply for a building permit, please continue reading below.
Recovery Program Overview
This applies to establishments whose primary use under non-emergency conditions is the preparation of food and shall have a valid Town of Miami Lakes Certificate of Use for “restaurant” or “food service establishment”.
→Available until the Emergency Order is lifted or as extended by the Town of Miami Lakes.
This program applies to the following space types:
Private walkways, parking, and driving areas.
Must be adjacent to the restaurant
Note that the property owner must grant permission in writing.
Frequently Asked Questions: Restaurant Recovery Program
Who can apply?
→Restaurants, but not bars serving food.
Where does this apply?
→Outdoor space adjacent to restaurants on private property town-wide.
Where can I get more information and apply?
→Download the Building Permit Application here https://www.miamilakes-fl.gov/index.php?option=com_docman&view=download&alias=1534-building-permit-application&Itemid=628
General information about reopening regulations can be found on the Miami-Dade County site. https://www.miamidade.gov/global/initiatives/coronavirus/business/openings-restaurants.page
How long is an outdoor café permit good for?
→Once approved, permits are good for as long as the program is authorized.
How long will it take for my permit to be approved?
→The Town aims to issue these permits within 48 hours of receipt of the complete application.
How much will an outdoor café permit cost?
→There is no cost to obtain an outdoor café temporary permit.
Who pays for barricades?
→Businesses must pay for and procure barricades, delineators, and other materials needed to provide a safe outdoor café in accordance with established standards.
Can I leave tents, tables, and chairs out at night or do I need to move them indoors when not operating?
→Chairs, Tables, barricade materials, and other approved items may remain in parking spaces as approved by the permit, however, pedestrian lanes must be preserved, and any damage or losses are at risk of the restaurants. The town reserves the right to direct the restaurant to remove items due to emergency situations or other conditions.
Can I establish a waiter table or food storage station in the outdoor café?
→No. Outdoor cafes are only authorized for extension of seating areas (tables and chairs) outdoors to provide for social distancing requirements. All other service functions should remain indoors.
What are the hours of operation allowed on outdoor seating?
→The permitted business hours of operation should remain consistent with your business’s typical hours of operations. If you are expanding operations outdoors, outdoor seating hours end at the same time as you are currently authorized. Please be mindful of your neighbors and any additional noise that may be generated.
How does the “6-foot rule” work for restaurant seating?
→Each table setting needs to be 6 feet from other tables measured from the back of each chair, chair-to-chair unless appropriate partitioning is in place. A per table party limit of 4 persons must be maintained unless the members of the party are from the same household. When parties are from the same household, tables may seat up to 6 persons. Restaurants must also make reasonable accommodations to party sizes to accommodate guests with disabilities such as allowing additional seating for caretakers. If people are at a table together, they do not need to be 6 feet apart.
What are the requirements for patrons waiting for a table?
→Parties must wait in vehicles or outside (socially distanced) for their tables until called by the host to be seated. Patrons should make reservations in advance whenever possible to prevent large crowds from forming at the business entrance.
Are employees and patrons required to wear masks?
→Guests must wear face-covering that covers the mouth and the nose as they arrive, move to, and leave their tables. Any employees approaching tables must wear a face covering.
What are the rules for operation and restroom use?
→More information at:
Who can I call if I have questions?
→For any questions or to inquire about the program, please contact Mike Mesa at (305) 827-4021 or (305) 364-6100 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm.
1. Collect Documents
→Business tax receipt
→Alcohol license number, (if applicable)
→Signed affidavit regarding compliance with applicable rules
→Signature of the property owner as co-applicant when applicable
→Narrative description (see below)
2. Prepare Description
→The applicant shall provide a narrative description of the proposed expansion of sidewalk café seating areas onto the outdoor seating areas on private property. The narrative shall describe design concept, intended use for the space, furnishings to be included, and maintenance plan.
Regulations applying to Private Space:
1. The Town of Miami waives all application fees.
2. The business will always be responsible for maintaining safe operation.
3. Must comply with requirements for Social Distancing.
→Maintain 6 feet separation between seats
→6 feet between tables and pathways
4. Must close immediately if any employee or contractor tests positive for COVID-19.
5. Must keep a record of reservations for contact tracing purposes.
6. Must comply with Miami Dade Fire Rescue fire department access rules.
7. Must meet minimum life safety requirements. Including:
→Keep all means of egress clear
→Keep fire lanes and fire staging areas clear
→Keep access to all hydrants and connection points clear
→Must meet minimum Americans with Disabilities Act, (ADA) requirements, including:
1. Minimum clearances and 3’ wide accessible routes
2. Ramps and slopes
8. Must create safe separation between vehicular traffic and pedestrians and diners.
9. Maintain access to public utilities, building, transit stops, and transient entrances
10. Restaurants and food establishments licensed to sell and allow on-premise consumption of alcoholic beverages within expanded dining.
→This program does not change the status of Restaurants not currently permitted to sell alcohol.
11. May erect tents and other shade structures
→All tents must abide by requirements listed below under “General Requirements for use of Tents or Shade Structures”
→Tents of 120sqft or smaller may be erected.
→Individual 120sqft tents must be separated by 6’ or more
→Tents larger than 120sqft must comply with I.F.I.A. tent handbook requirements and will require a building permit.
12. Businesses are responsible for activating spaces with chairs, tables, umbrellas, and barriers as needed.
13. Businesses are responsible for daily upkeep, litter cleanup, and maintenance associated with operations.
14. The permit shall be specifically limited to the subject area shown on the approved site plan.
15. Businesses are responsible for removal and restoring space to previous conditions for the following reasons:
→The cessation of use
→The end of the program
→Violations of permit conditions listed here or other legal requirements
→The outdoor dining area poses a dangerous condition or threat to life or property such as:
→Materials encroach into travel or bike lanes
→Materials limit required site-lines or visibility
→Structures become unsafe
→Request by Town due to a declaration of State of Emergency such as a hurricane
→Business creates modifications unapproved by the Town
16. The Permittee must agree in writing to authorize the Town to remove and restore space at the Permittee's sole cost in the event that any of the above conditions occur.
17. Dangerous or threatening conditions must be fixed immediately.
18. If non-threatening violations occur, the applicant will be notified and will be given a maximum of five (5) working days to remedy the conditions.
19. Permits will be terminated if violations are not fixed in 5 working days.
20. If a permit is terminated, sites must be returned to the previous conditions at the sole cost of the Permittee within three (3) calendar days.
21. When the encroachment causes a dangerous condition or threat of danger to life or property, the permit will be terminated without the five (5) day notice and removed immediately at Permittee's cost.
22. The Town, at its sole discretion, may restore sites to their previous condition upon a finding that it is in the public interest for the Town to fund or partially fund its removal.
23. Additional regulations may be found at https://www.miamidade.gov/global/initiatives/coronavirus/business/openings-restaurants.page
Regulations applying to Private Parking Lots
1. Must be immediately adjacent to the restaurant.
2. Up to 50% of required on-site parking spaces may be used.
3. No parking for disabled persons shall be repurposed.
4. No parking or seating is permitted in the required landscape and buffer areas.
5. Any tents or structures must meet the required setbacks.
6. Temporary equipment such as wash stations and hand sanitizing stations or stations for staff set up and service do not need to meet required yard setbacks.
Signage; Maintenance and Umbrellas
Your "outdoor cafe temporary permit" includes the following allowances and regulations:
1. Appropriate lighting of the outdoor café is required if operating outside of daytime hours. Reliance on the existing street and building lighting is encouraged. If additional lighting is needed, no cords or materials may interfere with circulation.
2. The use of landscaping and planters is permissible, however, these materials should not be permanently affixed to any public rights-of-way and should only be used to augment, not replace any barricade materials.
3. The use of removable barriers to define the outdoor café is permissible.
4. Overhead elements that span the sidewalk and connect the café area to an adjacent building facade are discouraged. Proposals may be considered on a case-by-case basis and will require a minimum vertical clearance of eighty-four inches above grade.
General Requirements for Use of Tents or Shade Structures
The following requirements apply to use of tents or shade structures:
→Umbrellas and other decorative material shall be fire-retardant, pressure-treated, or manufactured of fire-resistant material.
→No portion of an umbrella shall be less than six (6) feet, eight (8) inches (eighty (80) inches) above the sidewalk.
→The maximum size tents that may be placed within sidewalks and parking spaces will be 120 sq. ft.
→No staking of tents is permitted.
→All tent legs must be weighted with a minimum of 40lbs.
→Weights must be securely attached to the canopy roof and canopy leg separately.
→Ropes and straps should be high quality; bungee or rubber straps are prohibited.
→Weights must be on the ground and not dangling.
→Weights and lines must not pose a hazard and be clearly visible.
→For maximum safety, tents should be secured as soon as they are put up and brought down as soon as weight is removed. Do not leave unsecured tents at any time.
→Heaters of any kind shall not be used under tents or umbrellas.
→Smoking is prohibited under tents and shade structures.
→Tents must not have closed walls in place while open to the public, and all sides should be open for airflow.
Items that make acceptable weights:
→5-gallon bucket full of water, sand, or concrete
→4” PVC pipe at least 36” long filled with concrete
→Large commercially available tent weights
→Sandbags or salt bags 40 lbs. or heavier
Clarisell De Cardenas