Small sidewalk patio permit
This permit allows businesses to put seating on the sidewalk. They may not serve liquor to those guests, and guests may not take liquor onto the patio.
The permit is valid from May 1 to April 30 of the following year, and may be renewed. The permit conditions outline the amount of structures approved by the City. Your total number of guests, including guests on the patio, cannot be more than your occupancy permit allows.
If you want to put a railing or planters around your sidewalk patio, you must apply for a sidewalk patio with liquor service (“large patio”) permit even if you will not be serving liquor.
Before applying for the small sidewalk patio permit, you need to have a current business license with the City of Vancouver as a Restaurant Class 1, Retail Dealer-Food, Retail Dealer-Market, Retail Dealer-Grocery or Limited Service Food Establishment. You also need to ensure that the space around your restaurant or café is suitable for a patio. The patio must:
- Be located immediately next to the building the restaurant or café is located in, along either the front or the side of the building
- Leave enough space on the sidewalk for pedestrians to move around it and any other obstacles, such as street lights, parking meters or trees. The minimum is 2.4 m or 8 feet
- Not block exits from the businesses next to it
- Not block access to Fire Department connections, sewer connections, and so on
If your patio sits partly on private property and partly on City property, you will need both a development permit and a sidewalk patio permit.
If your patio will have a canopy or awning, you will also need a development permit and a building permit from Development Services.
Other criteria may apply. See the application form below for the full list of requirements.
How to apply for a small patio permit
Before you apply, have the following ready:
- Current business licence
- A certificate of liability insurance
- $55.20 application fee
Register for an account and submit your application online:
The Sidewalk Patio Coordinator may inspect your site.
If the site is suitable for a patio, and if all other information is complete and accurate, you will be able to pay for and receive your permit. The coordinator will contact you requesting that you pay in person at Engineering Services and collect your permit.
As a condition of being granted a small patio permit, you must show proof of liability insurance coverage which meets the following requirements:
- Inclusive limit of $2,000,000 P.L. and P.D. (public liability and property damage)
- Cross liability clause
- City of Vancouver named as insured
Download our Liability Insurance Certificate PDF file (175 KB), forward it to your insurance company to complete, and upload it during your application.