Louisville Metro temporarily relaxing outdoor seating regulations for restaurants

May 12, 2020

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer today announced new efforts to ease restrictions on outdoor seating for restaurants following concerns from the industry about how limited indoor seating capacity will affect local restaurants.

“Our restaurant industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and while we are excited for them to reopen, it is critical that restaurants do so smartly to prevent an increase in cases, which is why the Governor has limited indoor seating capacity,” said the Mayor. “At the same time, we need to do all we can to clear the path for restaurants to reopen and reconfigure so they can seat and serve more customers safely.”

Effective today, Public Works will temporarily suspend application fees for restaurants seeking an encroachment permit for outdoor furniture to add or expand their outdoor seating on public property, including sidewalks.


Restaurants will still need to apply for a permit via Louisville Metro’s online portal, Accela, or in person on the fourth floor of the Metro Development Center, 444 S. Fifth Street. To obtain a permit, the business will need to provide proof of insurance.

Louisville Metro is working with Louisville Metro Council to pass an emergency ordinance next week to temporarily suspend certain planning and zoning requirements to allow:

Restaurants to setup outdoor seating on private property or in a parking lot without additional parking, landscaping or other requirements normally required
Restaurants that are in compliance with the Land Development Code and that already have a liquor license to serve alcohol outdoors from their existing indoor bar

Depending on individual circumstances, restaurants may need to update their liquor license with state and local ABC officials if adding an additional bar is planned. For more information, visit www.louisvilleky.gov/government/build-back-better-together/temporary-re….

Council President David James and Councilman Brandon Coan, D-8, have expressed support for taking steps to help restaurants.

“I am glad to work with Mayor Fischer and his team to provide relief opportunities to our restaurateurs, as we all work together to support our local businesses amid the economic hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” President James said.

“Louisville loves our local independent restaurants, and we need to support them through this Coronavirus crisis. Waiving fees and relaxing certain regulations are immediate steps we can take,” said Councilman Coan. “As restaurant owners tell us other ways we can help, I trust Metro Government will take additional actions.”

Louisville Metro also is seeking additional innovative ideas about where restaurant owners can place new seating, such as such as another public space, roadway parking spaces adjacent to the restaurant, or closing nearby street lanes or roadways.

Restaurant owners and staff can submit their ideas at www.louisvilleky.gov/government/build-back-better-together/temporary-re….

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