Outdoor Dining Guidance 


On October 9, 2020, Santa Clara County officials announced changes to its health orders and published the Mandatory Directive for Dining, Bars, Wineries, and Smoking Lounges to prepare for when the County enters Tier 3 (Orange Tier). 

SCCPHD mandatory directive Opens in new window

Under the Revised Order, the density restrictions that are part of the current July 2nd Risk Reduction Order will no longer apply. Instead, like the State, the local Order will utilize capacity requirements.  See this new webpage for instructions and information related to these capacity limitations. When the Revised Order takes effect, all businesses and organizations will need to submit revised Social Distancing Protocols within 14 days to be consistent with the Revised Order.  More information and instructions on how to submit a new Social Distancing Protocol will be available here as soon as the Revised Order takes effect.   


The City of Morgan Hill has also released the following guidelines to help restaurants, bars, and wineries prepare for outdoor dining in the fall and winter months. 

Outdoor spaces on public property must have an encroachment permit. If you wish to expand your outdoor footprint, add shade structures or heating devices, you need to amend your permit. Outdoor spaces on private property need to obtain permission from the property owner and follow the guidelines. 

Structures (tents and canopies)

  • Temporary structures must be weighted, anchored, or secured to the ground, but cannot screw, cut or drill into the public right of way (i.e. on streets or sidewalks)
  • Temporary structures less than 100 square feet require a minimum of 40 lbs. of anchor weight per leg
  • Temporary structures larger than 100 square feet must be installed by a licensed tent vendor or structural calculations provided to the City 
  • Fire Marshal will permit and inspect temporary structures covering an aggregate of 400 square feet or more
  • If heating devices will be used under the structure, structure shall have a fire-resistant certification or flame certification showing material is fire-rated or noncombustible
  • Temporary outdoor structures must have at least 50% of the sides open to allow airflow
  • Layout of temporary outdoor structures must be shown on encroachment application diagram

Heating Devices under tents and canopies

  • Heating equipment must be shown on encroachment permit application diagram
  • Heating equipment must be three feet from tent sides, ceiling, and all other objects
  • Heating devices must be listed for the application and used in accordance with applicable Code and Standards
  • Written agreement acknowledging use of heating devices from tent vendor needs to be provided to the City to receive tent permit
  • Fire Marshal will inspect heating devices in tents and canopies of all sizes
  • Extension cords must be protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter and covered in compliance with American with Disabilities Act (ADA) 

Safety Considerations 

  • Heating equipment shall be unplugged or disconnected for overnight storage, and employees shall be trained in proper installation of fuel tanks and in detecting leaks
  • Heating devices must keep away from combustible materials, such as tents, at all times
  • Enclosed areas with heating devices must have clearly marked entrances and exits
  • Businesses must have sufficient fire extinguishers to cover indoor and outdoor spaces
  • Restaurants will need inclement weather plans in writing and trained to staff to prevent any injuries in storms or other unsafe situationsApplication Opens in new window

Public Property Amendment Application for Tent and Heaters

If you would like to move forward with ammending your current encroachment permit to include tents or heaters on public property, please complete the application and e-mail it to hilary.holeman@morganhill.ca.gov

Private Property Tent and Heater Application

Tents, canopies, and/or heaters on private property must fill out this application to obtain a permit and an inspection by the Morgan Hill Fire Department.