The Philadelphia Streets Department on Friday announced increased compliance inspections and enforcement efforts for restaurants with outdoor seating as part of a sidewalk cafe crackdown.
“Sidewalk cafes are a valued amenity as they promote a lively and festive atmosphere on city streets,” acting Streets Commissioner David Perri said in a statement.
“Cafe operators, however, need to adhere to their approved seating plans and be diligent in keeping public sidewalks safe and accessible for all users.”
The release stated complaints about blocked and impassable sidewalks have increased, forcing the department to step up its enforcement efforts involving the placement of tables, chairs and other furnishings.
The Streets Department will now conduct monthly inspections to ensure restaurants maintain compliance with sidewalk cafe requirements.
Those include making sure signs, sandwich boards and banners aren’t in the public right-of-way and that cafe seating doesn’t extend beyond the city-approved licensed limits.
Cafes without permits or those whose seating doesn’t adhere to approved plans will be issued tickets and required to comply immediately.
Repeated violators will be subject to the confiscation of signs, tables and chairs and the loss of business licenses.
Those businesses who don’t currently possess a cafe seating license but are interested in applying for one are encouraged to look for the sidewalk cafe license under the licensing and regulations section of the city’s Business Resource Guide.
“The sidewalk network in Philadelphia is one of the city’s greatest assets and sidewalk cafes are a wonderful addition,” Perri said.