Outdoor Dining 

General Requirements

The City is allowing temporary outdoor dining to occur on sidewalks, in on-street public parking areas, and/or in parking areas in privately owned shopping centers within the City of San Mateo. Outdoor dining may only take place when allowed by state and county health orders.

If you are located in another city within the County of San Mateo, you must contact that agency directly for local regulations. 

Specific guidelines for each of these locations are outlined in our Guidelines for Outdoor Dining. Please review the guidelines before moving forward with outdoor dining. These guidelines are temporary in nature and will only be in place during this time of restricted restaurant operations or up until September 30, 2021.

Restaurants must also follow guidelines set by the State of California, as outlined in the State’s Industry Guidance.   

Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit during COVID-19

The City has created a streamlined no-fee Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit Application for Outdoor Dining in the public right-of-way on sidewalks or within parking spaces.

A permit is required if:

  • The restaurant plans to provide alcohol service to their patrons.
  • The restaurant is creating dining areas in public on-street parking spaces outside of the City’s common parklet areas or street closures in Downtown San Mateo.
  • A restaurant is constructing a custom-designed parklet in the public right of way. Please review the Custom Built Parklet Guidelines for more information on requirements for these structures.

A permit is not required if:

  • The restaurant is providing sidewalk dining without alcohol service.
  • The restaurant uses the common dining areas created by the City in public on-street parking spaces in Downtown San Mateo, without alcohol service and without any built structures.



Jennifer Chen             Economic Development Manager jchen@cityofsanmateo.org  (650) 522-7009

Important Documents:

Guidelines for Outdoor Dining

Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit Application

Custom Built Parklet Guidelines

Downtown Common Parklet Areas

Common parklet for outdoor dining are being created for the following streets in Downtown San Mateo in on-street parking space areas:

  • B Street
  • Baldwin Avenue
  • 1st Avenue
  • 2nd Avenue
  • 3rd Avenue
  • 4th Avenue

Restaurants in areas not included on this list may apply for a parklet to be created in the on-street spaces adjacent to their frontage through a Temporary Outdoor Permit Application.

Sidewalk Dining

Sidewalk dining is only permitted where the sidewalk is wide enough to allow pedestrians to pass by tables and allow for 6-feet social distancing. Areas that have adequate width to accommodate sidewalk dining include:

  • 25th Avenue
  • Baldwin Avenue
  • 4th Avenue
  • 3rd Avenue (between Ellsworth and El Camino)
  • B St between 4th and 5th Avenue

Restaurants wishing to provide sidewalk dining in other areas of the City not listed above should contact staff for an evaluation of whether the sidewalk width at their location is adequate to comply.

6 ft (2)