City of Oakland Encourages Businesses to Temporarily Convert Parking Lots & Other Private Spaces for Dining & Retail

Date Posted: June 26th, 2020 @ 2:06 PM
Last Updated: June 26th, 2020 @ 2:14 PM
Outdoor Dining

As part of the City of Oakland’s Flex Streets Imitative the Planning & Building Department has waived fees and streamlined the permit process, making it easier for restaurants and retail spaces to operate on privately owned and leased spaces including parking lots, yard space, and courtyards.

As of Friday, June 19, the Alameda County Health Officer Order was updated to relax certain restrictions allowing for outdoor restaurant dining and indoor and outdoor retail sales. Businesses may operate at reduced capacity to ensure physical distancing and must have safety plans in place.

In support of outdoor dining and retail, the City of Oakland launched the Flex Streets Initiative to streamline the permitting process for sidewalk, parking lane, and roadway encroachments. As part of the Initiative, the Planning & Building Department has updated the permitting process for businesses to make use of privately owned or leased parking lots and other private spaces. Before setting up private spaces for dining or retail, businesses must apply for a permit with the Planning Bureau. If businesses want to add additional structures to these private spaces, they must also contact the Building Bureau for additional permits.

Three Steps to Preparing a Permit Application:

  1. 1. Prepare a Site Plan for Dining or Merchandise Display – how many tables and chairs/display stands can fit in the parking lot/private space? Remember, all set up must meet ADA accessibility standards.
  2. 2. Photograph Your Business – applications must include clear images of all entrances and exits of the private outdoor space and adjacent properties.
  3. 3. Guarantee Social Distancing & Sanitary Conditions – Site-Specific Protection Plans required by Alameda County must cover how businesses will protect staff and customers with equipment such as masks and gloves, as well as a clear plan for cleaning and sanitizing furniture and other high-touch areas after each use.

The goal of this program is to spur equitable economic recovery by making it easier for retailers, restaurants and other allowed businesses to use their parking lots and other privately owned/leased spaces to conduct business.


Media Contact

L. Autumn King
Public Information Officer
City Administrator's Office