The City of Orlando’s Economic Development office recently shared a statement concerning the future of the city’s temporary outdoor dining spaces that popped up during the pandemic.

City Hall relaxed restrictions against outdoor dining in May 2020, allowing businesses to expand retail and restaurant seating into outdoor areas like private parking lots and the public right-of-way to compensate for the 25 percent cap on indoor shoppers that was in place at the time.

Those temporary policies are set to expire on August 1, when businesses will be required to return to normal indoor operations unless otherwise permitted, as discussed in the statement below.

“Dear business owner,  

In May 2020, as COVID-19 restrictions limited the indoor capacity of many business operations, the City of Orlando approved a package of actions allowing businesses to temporarily expand their operational spaces and market their businesses outside, into public rights-of-way and private parking lots, without the need to obtain city permits.  

As all COVID-19 restrictions limiting indoor capacity have now been lifted, we are reaching out to remind you that these programs will expire on August 1, 2021.  

We recognize that some of you have embraced being able to expand your operations, particularly restaurant operations, into outdoor areas and have created unique spaces for your customers. While these spaces were created to be temporary, you may want to discuss keeping some of these options long-term as there may be existing opportunities within our zoning and building codes to accommodate these outside operations more permanently.  

If you would like to explore the possibility of expanding your operations outside long-term, please email [email protected] no later than July 30, 2021 and a representative from our City Planning and/or Business Development Division will reach out to you to discuss possible options for a permanent solution based on the unique circumstances of your business’ site plan.  

The City of Orlando recognizes this has been a challenging time for your business as a result of the pandemic and the impacts COVID-19 has had on your operations. We want to continue to do what we can to support your business on its path to recovery.  

Thank you for your contributions and commitment to the City of Orlando.” 

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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  1. Lindsey thank you so very much for defending us. The city has been extra ordinary in working with us and other restaurants over the years in many ways. One of the things that I have observed is…
    the biggest interest is in keeping their community safe. I believe this is just a way for us to all begin the discussion. At least that’s what we’re hoping. We did reach out to the city as the article said that we could do and we already have an appointment with them to discuss options.

  2. Restaurants all over the world have outdoor dining spaces, but backwaters Orlando feel the need to restrict these after 8/1 for the restaurants that are so desperate to stay open. How sad.

  3. I feel like this is aimed exclusively at Maxine’s. While I know a lot of businesses embraced this change, they did something spectacular. I live around the corner and it’s been a joy to walk by there at night and see the culture they’ve created around that space. Hope they get to keep it.