Expanded Outdoor Dining

The City of Fort Collins is launching temporary outdoor dining expansions for restaurant and bars, which temporarily allows restaurants, bars, and retail businesses to expand their business footprint onto the public rights-of-way. Businesses must apply for, and be approved to use additional public space.


  • Fort Collins has created a temporary program to expand options for restaurants and bars to operate in outdoor patio settings adjacent to their businesses. 
  • The intent of the program is to allow for greater social distancing and safety for bar and restaurant‐goers when public health orders allow restaurants and bars to resume sit‐down service. 
  • To gauge interest, Fort Collins has created an application for businesses for the City to review. 
  • Final rules and regulations are in development. Under this program, Fort Collins would consider allowing businesses to expand existing patio space or establish new outdoor areas, potentially including parking lots, sidewalks, street parking spaces, and possibly closing select streets to expand outdoor operating areas. The City would maintain ADA access at all times. 
  • Although the state has not set a re-opening date for restaurants and bars, the City is starting the application process now to better manage the volume of applications that are expected to be received citywide.


  • All outdoor seating must be spaced at least six feet apart. 
  • It is strongly encouraged to test workforce for COVID-19.  
  • Use single-use paper menus, condiments, etc. 
  • Provide easily accessible sanitizing options for patrons and employees. 
  • It is strongly encouraged to implement contact-less ordering and payment processes. 
  • All restaurants are encouraged to use a reservation system to prevent capacity issues and patrons from congregating while waiting for service. 
  • Facial coverings must be worn by all staff members. 
  • Request facial covering of customers when not eating or drinking (i.e., walking past other tables to be seated and/or using restroom).
  • Floor markings for traffic control and waiting queue space is highly recommended.
  • Limit contact with dining guests by reducing the number of visits wait staff make to each table. 
  • Maintain ADA access at all times in the public right-of-way. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Responsible Customer Checklists
We are asking patrons for their voluntary compliance with the guidelines set forth by the City of Fort Collins. By being a responsible patron, allows all of us to support our local businesses and protect our workforce, our customers, and our community. Our businesses are working hard to adjust, so we ask all to be kind, have patience and follow guidelines through this transition. We know everyone in our community wants to support our local businesses as we are all in this together. Let’s do the right thing for Fort Collins to help them reopen responsibly so that we can get back to all the things we love, together.
Download the Responsible Patron Checklists here

Larimer County Variance Guidance

Last weekend, Colorado approved many parts of Larimer County’s variance application. The variance process effectively allows counties to create alternate guidance that is less restrictive than the state’s current safer-at-home guidance for specific business activities. Shortly after, Colorado updated their safer-at-home requirements, which loosened some previous restrictions, primarily for restaurants. 

Larimer County has been reviewing the areas where the new state rules and the approved variance rules interact in potentially confusing or conflicting ways. Any required clarifications will be made to online materials. Multiple updates have already been made to the County’s variance information page over the past few days, and we encourage you to revisit the information if you haven’t looked recently.

Businesses can find information on the Larimer County Variance guidance online and we invite you to please submit questions to get clarification and guidance for your business.

Sign up for daily updates from the City of Fort Collins Emergency Preparedness and Security COVID-19 newsletter at fcgov.com/eps/coronavirus

Economic Health Office
222 Laporte Ave.
Fort Collins, CO 80521