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Safe Start Permits

What's New

January 2023

Many legislative and programmatic changes were inspired by our Safe Start temporary permitting program – a free program designed to help food service and retail businesses survive and recover during the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes have now been fully authorized by recently passed legislation and the three new SDOT Director’s Rules linked below:

We have now begun sunsetting the Safe Start program while helping our Safe Start permit-holders learn about and transition to an expanded array of temporary, seasonal, one-year, and long-term permit options. All Safe Start vending permits will expire on 1/31/23. Safe Start outdoor dining, merchandise display, and street closure permits for businesses outside of historic districts will expire on 6/30/23, and those inside historic districts will expire on 12/31/23. Interested permit-holders and future applicants should review our 2023 Timeline for more details on application and compliance dates.

To learn more about currently available permit options for these business uses of public right-of-way, please see our individual permit pages:

2023 Timeline

Date  Action 
1/18/23  Effective Date of Legislation and new SDOT Director’s Rules for Outdoor Dining, Merchandise Displays, and Vending  
1/31/23  All Safe Start vending permits and one-year vending permits that were extended under Safe Start expire 
2/1/23  First day of new standard vending year! 
2/1/23  We begin actively soliciting, accepting and reviewing long-term and seasonal applications for businesses transitioning from Safe Start-permitted cafes and furniture zone displays (people can apply before this date but this is when we’ll advertise it) 
4/30/23  Latest date to apply for seasonal or long-term outdoor dining, merchandise display, or street closure permits (except for sites within a Historic District) in order to get permit issued by 6/30/23 (when Safe Start permits expire)  
6/30/23  Safe Start Outdoor Dining, Merchandise Display, and Street Closure Program ends for all locations except those within Historic Districts. Businesses who have not obtained a seasonal or long-term permit to replace their Safe Start permit must remove their Safe Start uses from the right-of-way by end of day  
10/31/23  End of 2023 Seasonal Business Use period; all seasonal permits expire.  Seasonal permit holders must remove their uses from the right-of-way by end of day 
10/31/23  Latest date to apply for long-term outdoor dining, merchandise display, or street closure permits for sites within a Historic District in order to get permit issued by 12/31/23 (when these Safe Start permits expire)  
12/31/23  Long term permit-holders transitioning from Safe Start (except those within historical districts) must fully comply with new standards and permit conditions  
12/31/23  Safe Start Outdoor Dining, Merchandise Display, and Street Closure Program ends for sites within a Historic District. Businesses who did not obtain a long-term permit to replace their Safe Start permit must remove their Safe Start uses by end of day.  
6/30/24  Long term permit-holders in Historic Districts transitioning from Safe Start must fully comply with new standards and permit conditions 

Transportation

Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623
684-Road@seattle.gov

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The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is on a mission to deliver a transportation system that provides safe and affordable access to places and opportunities for everyone as we work to achieve our vision of Seattle as a thriving, equitable community powered by dependable transportation.