Tampa Bay's National Historic Landmark District

City of Tampa Launches Lift Up Local Campaign to Support Local Businesses to Re-open Responsibly

Tampa, Florida (May 4, 2020)—In conjunction with the Governor’s Order for a phased re-opening of restaurants and retail businesses, the City of Tampa is launching the Lift Up Local Economic Recovery Plan to support local businesses to re-open safely and responsibly.    

Phase 1 of Lift Up Local will temporarily allow businesses to expand their outdoor capacity to safely serve patrons while complying with the Governor’s Order for maximum of 25% internal capacity and the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. The 14-day pilot project will enable businesses to expand their business footprint into certain exterior and open-air spaces subject to 6-foot separation requirements and other safety measures.       

Starting Monday, May 4, the City will temporarily suspend certain code and permit requirements to allow restaurants and retail businesses to expand into designated public rights-of-way or to use privately owned sidewalks or parking facilities for restaurant seating or retail merchandise. The plan will enable the use of certain areas of private property (subject to landlord/management approval) not typically permitted for business activity such as: private outdoor areas, parking lots, public rights-of-way, and parklets. In all cases, the configurations must meet 6 foot separation requirements.   

“We want to lift up our local businesses through this recovery and empower them to re-open responsibly,” says Mayor Jane Castor. “By giving our local business owners as many tools and as much space as possible to safely serve guests, we can work together to protect our workforce, our customers, and our community. Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we need their help to safely and successfully re-open our city and get back to all the things we love–one step at a time.” 

Citywide Parklet Options 

During the 14-day pilot, any business located in the City of Tampa may establish a ‘parklet’ on the sidewalk immediately adjacent to its establishment frontage or in its private parking spaces. The need to apply for a City permit is suspended during this pilot, however, landlord or property manager approval may still be required. 

If available, a business may request to use adjacent City parking spaces. The City will work with the business owner to temporarily disable applicable parking meters to enable the parking spaces to be repurposed for use by the business. 

Restaurants may set up tables and chairs in these ‘parklets’ subject to a set of separation and safety standards and guidance. Retailers may use the spaces for a ‘sidewalk sale’ type set-up. The City will establish one of these ‘parklets’ on Swann Avenue between Oregon and Rome to remain in place during the pilot.        

Cafe & Retail Zones 

As part of the initiative, the City has also designated 7 Cafe & Retail Zones (road closures) for businesses in concentrated areas. These zones will be blocked to traffic during the 14-day pilot (except the SOHO location which will be blocked only during the dinner/evening hours). These zones are solely intended for dining or retail uses. To participate in the zones, restaurants are required to use a reservation system to prevent congregating and loitering in the zones. Tables and chairs may not be moved or reconfigured and must be separated by 6 feet at all times.        

Safety requirements and compliance with the Governor’s Order will be strictly enforced in the Cafe & Retail Zones. It is prohibited to gather in these spaces unless you are dining or visiting a retail location. Individuals and groups not in compliance will be removed from the Cafe & Retail Zones. Establishments that do not comply with operating restrictions will be prohibited from continuing to participate in use of the outdoor space.       

The designated Cafe & Retail Zones are:     

  • Downtown: Twiggs St (Tampa St to Franklin St)  
  • Downtown: Franklin St (Madison to Polk) 
  • Hyde Park Village: S. Dakota Ave/W. Snow (Swann Ave to S Rome Ave) 
  • Ybor City: 7th Ave (15th St to 21st St) 
  • Tampa Heights: Franklin St (Kay St to Palm Ave) 
  • West River: Grand Central Ave (Kennedy to Hyde Park Ave) 
  • SOHO: South Howard (Morrison Ave to Bristol Ave)** 

Note that the SOHO Cafe & Retail zone will be in effect daily from 5 pm to 10pm. South Howard will be open for normal traffic flow during all other times (except during set-up and break-down of the Cafe & Retail zone each day).     

By expanding outdoor capacity, the city hopes to support businesses in their efforts to re-open responsibly. These closures are not intended to create public gathering or social space. The Tampa Police Department will be patrolling these areas to prevent social gathering violations and the pilot program will be reassessed as needed.  

City of Tampa COVID-19 Restaurant Requirements 

To maintain public safety, all indoor and outdoor seating must maintain at least 6 feet of separation (measured between chair backs). Indoor capacity must be limited to 25%, facial coverings must be worn by “front of house” staff members who interact with the public, restaurants must use disposable paper menus, provide easily accessible hand sanitizer, and follow other safety requirements. It is also strongly encouraged to implement contactless ordering and payment options.  

To learn more about the Lift Up Local Economic Recovery Plan, visit tampagov.net/liftuplocal or call our Recovery Hotline at (833) TPA-INFO.  

Local business owners are also encouraged to text TAMPABIZ to 888-777 for important updates on business requirements, economic relief, and recovery efforts.