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Temporary Outdoor Customer Service Area Permit

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The temporary outdoor customer service area application was created to assist St. Louis Park businesses to reopen amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It is intended to initiate a review of a request to temporarily conduct business outside.

Applications may be submitted at any time; however, the city will not issue permits until the state has authorized the activity. Approval of a permit does not supersede stay at home orders or social distance guidelines.

While the city does not review and approve business reopening plans, we may provide comments about social distancing on your plans and in some cases require changes to comply with social distancing guidelines as they exist at the time of review. It is up to each business to comply and stay up to date with state orders and social distance guidelines.

DEED memo explaining Executive Order 20-63

Click here for a memo from the MN Dept of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). This memo summarizes the rules as outlined in Executive Order 20-63 which allows restaurants and bars to re-open for outdoor dining. The memo also includes answers to many frequently asked questions. It is a very informative document, and should be reviewed by anybody opening for outdoor seating.

Applying for permits

To begin, review and complete the temporary outdoor customer service area application. The city is waiving the fees for the application. It is very important that  you provide detailed information as requested. We need each question answered with illustrations when appropriate. Incomplete applications will result in delays of the permits being issued.

Additional applications (as needed)

Download and submit the following applications if they are applicable to your request:

  • Temporary extension of existing liquor license application โ€” This application is required if you will be serving alcohol outside as part of an outdoor dining area, or if you will be expanding an existing outdoor dining area that is already included in your liquor license premises. It requires city manager approval and may result in a delay of your application. Note that the outdoor dining area can be expanded before the temporary liquor license amendment is approved. Alcohol, however, cannot be served in this area until the amendment to the license is approved. Contact the city clerk with questions regarding this application. The city is temporarily waiving fees for this permit.

  • Tent permit โ€” This permit is required if you will be utilizing a tent over 400 square feet in area as part of your outdoor activity. Note that tents are not allowed to have sides, and must remain open to the outside at all times when occupied.

Note: PDF applications are fillable to make it easier to submit online. If the sections do not have fillable fields, try downloading the application and saving it to your computer.

Frequently asked questions

What is a temporary outdoor customer service area?

A temporary outdoor customer service area is a place on your property where you can conduct a specific aspect of your business. It may include activities such as outdoor dining, retail and classes such as yoga or other fitness activities. Please note that due to potential safety and nuisance concerns, some activities may not be allowed outside. Additionally, an activity one business is allowed to conduct may not be allowed at your property due to unique circumstances. Each application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

How long will it take to review an application?

The city is expecting many applications in a very short period of time. We will process each application in order of receipt and as quickly as possible. Please make sure your application is complete and detailed when you submit it. A list of items you need to consider and note on your application is included on the application form. Incomplete applications will result in delays.

Does the temporary use permit expire?

Yes. The intent of this permit is to assist businesses to temporarily expand some aspects of their business to the outdoors as the governor eases the stay at home order and authorizes businesses to reopen in limited capacity. The temporary use permit is set to expire on or before Dec. 31, 2020. The city retains the right to expire them sooner for any reason, including if the governor removes the stay at home order and allows businesses to resume in full capacity. The city also retains the right to revoke or amend any previously approved permit for any reason, including conflicts with public safety and nuisance concerns.

How much does the permit cost?

The city is temporarily waiving fees associated with the temporary use permit, the permit to temporarily amend the liquor license, and temporary signage.

Can I install temporary signage? 

Yes. Each business is allowed up to a total of 80 square feet of temporary signage. When considering where to place the signage, we ask that you please be considerate of your neighbors, adjacent businesses and the safety of pedestrians and people driving on the roads. Here are some guidelines/requirements to consider:

  1. Visibility triangleBanners may be attached to the building.
  2. Signage may be painted on windows.
  3. Banners may be staked in the yard or attached to fences or other privately owned landscaping elements.
  4. Banners cannot be attached to city boulevard trees or city-owned street furniture.
  5. Signage must be located on the business property, it cannot be placed in the public right of way.
  6. We ask that parking spaces are not used for signage, including vehicles with the business name affixed on them.
  7. Signage located in the visibility triangle (see image to the right) cannot exceed 30 inches in height, measured from the ground to the top of the sign. In the image, the visibility triangle is shaded in gray. The measurements are taken along the street curb.