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SURVEY | Temporary Outdoor Café and other Safe Start permits are extended to May 2022. Share your thoughts on how we can improve these permit programs for the future.

200+ businesses participated in our Safe Start program last year.

Have you enjoyed a meal, drink, or treat on an outdoor patio at your favorite restaurant or café this past year?  

Chances are, if the outdoor seating was on the sidewalk or street, the coffee shop, brewery, restaurant, or ice cream shop may have been one of the 200+ businesses participating in our safe start program this last year. 

Take our Outdoor Cafes, Displays, and Vending in Public Space Survey to share your thoughts on how we can improve these permit programs for the future.  

Whether you’re a business owner who applied for a permit, employee who served customers outside, patron who frequented your local cafes, or anyone else who has thoughts on how we can improve these permits, we want to hear from you!

Photo credit: Brian Chu  

Last year, we worked closely with Mayor Durkan’s Office to develop an approach to support Seattle’s restaurants and small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help people and businesses in our communities, we created a new Safe Start permit that reimagined existing permitting programs to provide more opportunities for businesses to use streets, sidewalks, and curb spaces throughout Seattle by streamlining the permitting process and waiving the permitting fees.  

Our initial Safe Start permits encompassed outdoor cafes, retail merchandise displays, food trucks, and vending carts, but, as demand increased, we expanded our offerings to include permitting opportunities for fitness gyms and studios, and retail and craft vending.  

Outdoor dining has been loved by so many small businesses and residents, and its exactly the vision we want for our city post-pandemic: vibrant neighborhoods where anyone can live, walk, work, and play.   

Photo credit: SDOT Flickr 

This past May, Seattle City Council adopted legislation to extend the Safe Start permits through May 2022

The permits were originally set to expire this October. Owing to their continued importance to the successful recovery of Seattle’s economy, the Seattle City Council adopted legislation that extended them through May 2022.  

With this additional time, we’re taking this opportunity to conduct outreach and engage with business owners and residents to find out how the Safe Start permits worked for them and gather ideas as we consider how we might improve our programs for the future. We anticipate introducing updated guidelines for permit programs before May 2022, giving Safe Start permit holders time to consider whether they wish to continue operating on the sidewalk or curb space after the Safe Start permits expire. 

To share your thoughts about these programs and your ideas for the future, please take our survey by August 15, 2021.