Lift Up Local


*** NOTICE ***

Due to the new variants of the pandemic, the Lift Up Local program will be extended through Thursday, June 30, 2022 at 11 p.m. The program is predicated on the current COVID-19 State of Emergency declarations and therefore, may be terminated earlier should the State of Emergency expire.

If you are interested in continuing the use of outdoor space for restaurant seating, you must legalize your outdoor seating arrangement through the current application and review process for a ‘Sidewalk Café’ on or before December 7th. Due to the creative nature of the Lift Up Local program, not all current conditions will be able to qualify for a ‘Sidewalk Café’ permit.

You may review the Sidewalk Café code requirements on Municode Chapter 22, Article I, Division 3, Subsection IX: Sidewalk Cafés

As a courtesy to you and your business, we are offering a free preliminary review of whether your proposed seating arrangement would qualify in advance of filing for the permit under the normal City code. If interested, please e-mail John Marsh or call at 813-274-8007.

For the remaining time of the program, the current Lift Up Local requirements remain in effect regarding access, ADA requirements, and fire safety standards. The fire marshal and/or code enforcement can require on-site changes at any time if they observe non-compliance with the Lift Up Local requirements. The Sidewalk Café permit process takes a minimum of 15 days; however, outside the Central Business District Downtown, Channel District, and Ybor District, City Council approval is required which is a minimum of 30 days to get on the City Council agenda.


The City of Tampa’s ‘Lift Up Local’ program has been instrumental in enabling Tampa restaurants and bars to safely increase seating capacity during the State’s various shut-down and limited occupancy orders. Currently, there are no interior capacity limits (see Florida Governor’s Executive Order 20-244, dated September 25, 2020).

The City recognizes the need for many establishments to continue to maintain expanded outdoor space, and to have certainty about the duration of the Lift Up Local program.

For that reason, the ‘Lift up Local’ program is extended through Thursday, June 30, 2022, at 11 p.m. After June 30th, establishments participating in the program will have 30 days to restore to normal conditions and be subject to all applicable rules and regulations.

The Lift Up Local Economic Recovery Plan temporarily allows bars, restaurants, and retail businesses to establish outdoor capacity on adjacent privately-owned and public spaces without having to go through a full application and permitting process or pay a fee.

For outdoor seating, no permits, applications, or fees are required, but establishments must comply with all guidelines and rules noted here. For tents, parklets, or other structures, pre-approvals are required but are typically performed same-day via the City’s new Fast-Pass process.

During this time, the City will suspend certain code and permit requirements to enable greater use of outdoor space for bars, dining, and retail patrons. Safety and accessibility requirements still apply. Details of the specific guidelines are available in the LiftUp Local Guidebook Final Phase. 

A summary of the details is as follows:

General Requirements and Recommendations

  • Lift Up Local applies only to establishments that are legally authorized to be open to the public.
  • Public or private sidewalks which are utilized under this program may be used for outdoor seating only, at both restaurants and bars.
  • All outdoor tables must be spaced at least six feet apart, except if partitioning is in place.
  • No seat, No Service. All outdoor patrons must be SEATED at a table. If tables are filled, the patrons must leave the outdoor area.
  • Lingering and loitering at the entrance of an establishment is prohibited.
  • Patrons may not stand around in a ‘Lift Up Local’ approved area. Patrons must be seated at a table or leave the area.
  • Establishments using Tents or Parklets are encouraged to use a reservation process to prevent patrons from congregating while waiting for service.
  • Facial coverings must be worn by all staff who have direct contact with patrons and customers.
  • Hand sanitizer should be easily accessible to patrons and employees.
  • Disposable, easily sanitized, or electronic menus are required
  • Contactless ordering and payment processes are recommended.
  • Facial coverings are required in all ‘Lift Up Local’ spaces for staff/employees and patrons (unless seated).
  • Outdoor seating areas must be closed by 11 pm.
  • Outdoor music and/or amplified sound in a ‘Lift Up Local’ space is prohibited after 10 pm.
  • Limit contact with bar and dining guests by reducing the number of visits wait staff make to each table.
  • Employees and staff are encouraged to be tested for COVID-19. Call 888-513-6321 for free testing. No symptoms are necessary and insurance is not required

Outdoor Seating Recovery Program

Through the duration of the City of Tampa’s local state of emergency, specified City Code requirements regarding permitting of sidewalk cafes shall be temporarily suspended. Businesses utilizing private and public sidewalks shall comply with the guidelines established in the Lift Up Local Guidebook Final Phase.

Operational Requirements for Sidewalk Cafes per Sec. 22-227 shall remain in effect and shall generally apply to all private business operations including retail establishments.

Use of open space not covered by a tent or structure can be done without seeking a pre-approval (periodic inspections may occur).

Use of tents, covered structures, or parklets requires pre-approval per the Fast Pass process. Details are available in the Guidebook.

Outdoor seating on sidewalks with no tent

  • No application, permit process, or fee is required. Periodic unannounced inspections may occur.
  • Adequate pedestrian flow of at least 6 feet must be maintained at all times; an example of an adequate outdoor seating configuration can be found in the Guidebook.
  • Access to public utilities, building entrances, crosswalks, bus stops and transit entrances must be maintained.
  • Pedestrian and traffic safety must be observed.
  • Aesthetic compatibility with the surrounding area must be established.
  • Additional guidance and requirements on location, construction, signage, maintenance, and umbrellas applies.

Note: The City reserves the right to remove a sidewalk café/retail space for violations listed in the Guidebook.

Use of Tents/Covered Structures or Parklets

Establishments must seek pre-approval to install temporary parklets and/or tents/covered structures subject to the following requirements. Further details may be found in the Guidebook.

  • The establishment must be legally operational per Governor’s orders.
  • Parklets, Tents, and Covers must be approved in advance by the City subject to an EZ-Pass approval system (same-day permit; 24-hour inspection).
  • Social distancing and sanitation protocols remain in effect.
  • No street closures are allowed.
  • All patrons must be in a seat. No seat, No service.
  • Outdoor spaces are for bar or restaurant seating (and tables) only. No bars or outdoor alcohol service stands.
  • City reserves discretion to discontinue the program based on changing conditions.

More detailed information is available in the LiftUp Local Guidebook Final Phase.