The restaurant and retail industries faced severe challenges during the pandemic due to indoor dining and shopping restrictions.  In June 2020, the City Council swiftly responded and authorized a FREE Temporary Emergency Use Permit (TEUP) to allow for expanded outdoor dining and retail displays, as well as temporary signs and banners to mitigate limited business operations.  In July 2020, the City Council authorized the temporary closure of the second and third blocks of Main Street to vehicular traffic to provide businesses with additional public right-of-way space to operate in. The second block closure, which is supported by downtown restaurants and merchants, has continued to be extended by the City Council.

Status of Temporary Emergency Use Permits

In 2021, COVID restrictions on indoor dining and shopping were lifted, allowing for restaurant and retail businesses to return to full capacity. As a result, TEUPs expired December 31, 2021 with the exception of those on the second block of Main Street due to the City Council’s decision to keep the area closed to vehicular traffic while design and construction of a reconfigured Main Street is contemplated. 

All businesses outside of the second block on Main Street that wish to maintain their outdoor dining space are encouraged to apply for a permanent outdoor dining permit. Businesses that are operating outdoors with a TEUP that do not plan to seek a permit for a permanent outdoor dining area are encouraged to remove the outdoor dining areas by Labor Day.  Businesses with temporary patios on private property citywide are encouraged to contact the City to discuss obtaining a permit for a more permanent outdoor dining area. 

Permanent Outdoor Dining Program Overview

Permit requirements for outdoor dining are regulated by the Huntington Beach Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance (HBZSO) and Downtown Specific Plan.  Businesses interested in applying for permanent outdoor dining, whether on private or public property, may start the process using the City’s General Application Form.  Questions may be directed to the City’s Permit Center at (714) 536-5241 or permitcenter@surfcity-hb.org. Businesses are encouraged to discuss their plans with City staff prior to submittal. For expedient processing, electronic submittals are highly recommended through the City’s online submittal system HB Accela Citizen Access.

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