Restaurant Temporary Outdoor Seating License

As Massachusetts re-opens the economy, many restaurants will be seeking to temporarily add or expand existing outdoor seating. In an effort to make this process easier for Shrewsbury restaurants, the Town has developed the following guidance which includes the minimum requirements from all relevant Town departments. Additionally, the Town has streamlined the process to include only one application form, and the fee for the application will be waived. 

The State of Massachusetts will be publishing guidance and updates throughout the re-opening process ( ). All State requirements must be met, as they cannot be waived or reduced by the Town.

Please carefully review all guidance documents issued by the State as well as the Town requirements listed below. A link to an on-line application form can be found under the “How to Proceed” section below the Town requirements.

State Guidance Documents:

Governor Baker’s COVID-19 Order No. 35 (see section 4)

MA Restaurants COVID-19 Safety Standards

MA Restaurants COVID 19 Checklist

ABCC June 1, 2020 Advisory Regarding LLA Approval of Outdoor Seating

ABCC July 28, 2015 Advisory Regarding Guidelines for Patio and Outdoor Areas

Town Requirements:

  1. Application Form – fill out the attached application form and include it with your submittal. There is no application fee.
  2. Outdoor Alcohol Sales Application - if applicable - if currently licensed to serve/pour alcohol on-premises.
  3. Tent Permit - if applicable - If installing a tent, a Tent Permit must be obtained from the Building Department. A tent permit fee will still be required. 50% of the cover’s perimeter must be open, meaning a top and two side coverings are acceptable.
    • A certificate of flame resistance must be submitted and approved.
    • All tents must comply with 780 CMR sections 108, 34, 10 and chapter 24 of the International Fire Code (Tent rental companies should be familiar with codes.)
    • Tents must have an approved fire extinguisher on site.
    • Exit signage, emergency lighting and lights are required.
    • Portable heaters must be inspected and approved and carbon monoxide detectors may be required.
  4. Permission of Property Owner, if applicable – If the parking lot is not owned by the restaurant, submit a letter of permission from the owner of the parking lot indicating permission to use it for outdoor dining.
  5. Site Plan – submit a drawing showing the parking lot you would like to use for outdoor dining that includes the following information (please adhere to state guidance):
    • Dimensions of the entire parking lot. Include the total number of spaces and handicap spaces that will remain available for parking.
    • Dimensions of the portion of the parking lot to be used for outdoor dining. Include the number of spaces that will be used for dining.
    • Locations of curb cuts with ramps to the parking lot, if applicable.
    • Layout of tables and chairs.
      • Tables must be 6’ apart to facilitate social distancing.
      • Identify the number of seats per table and 6’ radius around each table.
      • The size of a party seated at a table cannot exceed 6 people.
    • Dimensions of tables.
    • Description of proposed furniture. Must be smooth, durable, and easy to clean.
    • Photo or description of barriers to be used to protect diners from vehicles and their locations (i.e. at entrance(s) to parking lots, around the portion of the lot being used for outdoor dining, etc.).
    • Locations of directional signage, and signage posted to employ social distancing and hygiene protocols.
    • The outdoor dining area and barriers must be accessible and meet ADA and Massachusetts Architectural Access Board’s regulations. This information is also included in this guidance packet.
    • Alternative Parking Area(s) – describe or indicate on the site plan, other areas where customers could park when visiting your establishment. Indicate whether you will rely on street parking.
  6. Outdoor Dining COVID-19 Safety Protocol Plan 
  7. Outdoor Dining COVID-19 Safety Protocol Affidavit 
  8. Insurance - Workers Compensation Affidavit
    • Proof of Liquor Liability Insurance including the extended premises area (if serving alcohol).
  9. Inspection – All temporary outdoor dining areas shall be inspected by the inspection team prior to occupancy.

How to Proceed:

  1. Apply: After carefully reviewing all relevant guidance, please click here to apply for temporary outdoor seating:
  2. Receive Initial Approval: Once your application has been approved by the Board of Selectmen, you will be notified that you may begin installation of the proposed outdoor seating area in accordance with the approved or amended application materials.
  3. Inspection: Once installation is complete, contact Alexandria Martinez (508-841-8508), to request inspection.
  4. Final Approval: Upon successful inspection(s), an amended Common Victualer or Alcohol License will be issued. This temporary license will expire on November 1, 2020 or until COVID-19 Order No. 35 is rescinded.


Contact for Questions About:

Alexandria Martinez, Administrative Assistant to the Board of Selectmen

Application, Licensing, Liquor licensing
Kerry Stockwell, Health
COVID safety for staff and customers, reopening inspection
Patty Sheehan, Building Inspector Dale Blue, Electrical Inspector
John Zachariewicz, Assistant Building Inspector
Tent Permit/Site Plan

Bernard Cahill, Town Planner 

Aidas Rudis, Assistant Town Planner
Site Plan Review
Seth Colby, Deputy Fire
Tent Permit/Site Plan
Lt. Nick Perna, Police

For additional information regarding COVID safety and sector-specific guidance for reopening, go to: