Temporary Outdoor Expansions for Restaurants and Bars

An innovative approach to reopening for restaurants, bars, and other eligible businesses.

The City and County of Denver is creating a temporary program to allow restaurants and bars to operate in outdoor settings adjacent to their businesses. The intent of the program is to allow for greater physical distancing and safety for patrons when the state’s public health orders allow restaurants and bars to resume sit-down service. While final rules and regulations are still in development, proposals could include expansion into designated outdoor areas such as adjacent parking lots, streets and sidewalks.

The announcement of this program follows the Downtown Denver Partnership’s discussions with City officials on this matter since early April, and its issuance of a letter to Mayor Hancock urging him to consider rapid street activation to ensure retail and restaurant businesses the ability to open while offering customers space to social distance.

Eligible businesses can use the form below to submit an outdoor expansion proposal for the city to review. Considerations for every proposal will include safety, mobility and local and emergency access.

“Business owners need time to prepare for re-opening, and we want to set them up for success as soon as dine-in becomes permissible again.” – Mayor Michael B. Hancock 

City staff will begin reviewing proposals immediately. However, patio areas cannot be opened for sit-down service until allowed by local and state public health orders. If approved to open, patio areas can remain in place through September 7, 2020, subject to local and state health guidelines.

Businesses located on the 16th Street Mall should also submit an application through the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District (BID). The BID will work to coordinate a program for the 16th Street Mall. Applicants are asked to express interest by filling out this form.


The City and County of Denver is now accepting applications from eligible businesses interested in temporary outdoor business operations. Learn more about rules and regulations and whether this program may be a good fit for you and your business.

16th Street Mall Downtown Denver

16th Street Mall Restaurant Application Process

Eligible businesses located on the 16th Street Mall must apply for this program through the City and under the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District Sidewalk Cafe permitting process.