Restaurants & Dining Guidance 


As of March 24, 2021, orange tier guidance for restaurants includes: indoor dining at maximum 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer. The County’s Mandatory Directive on Capacity Limitations describes the additional capacity limitations for businesses, entities, and activities. 

In preparation for opening, please review the Santa Clara County Public Health Mandatory Directive for Dining, Bars, Wineries, and Smoking Lounges revised on November 2020. 

SCCPHD mandatory directive Opens in new window

All businesses must complete and submit a Revised Social Distancing Protocol for each of their facilities on the County’s website at Social Distancing Protocols submitted prior to October 11, 2020, are no longer valid. The Revised Social Distancing Protocols must be filled out using an updated template for the Social Distancing Protocol at


The City of Morgan Hill has also released guidelines to help restaurants, bars, and wineries prepare for outdoor dining.  

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, such as 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, for example on streets or sidewalks;
  • Temporary structures less than 100 square feet require a minimum of 40 lbs. of anchor weight per leg;
  • Temporary structures covering an aggregate of over 700 square feet without walls or 400 square feet with a single wall, will require the Fire Marshal to permit and inspect;
  • 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;
  • Propane heaters are not allowed inside/under tents or canopies;
  • Propane heaters must always be outside tents or canopies and kept 3 feet from combustible materials; 
  • Heating devices must be listed for the application and used in accordance with applicable Code and Standards;
  • 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 the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) .

Safety Considerations 

  • Heating equipment and other related components used under tents or canopies shall be installed in accordance with the California Mechanical Code and shall be approved by the fire code official;
  • Heating equipment shall be unplugged or disconnected for overnight storage, and employees shall be trained in the 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 staff to prevent any injuries in storms or other unsafe situations.Application Opens in new window.

Public Property Amendment Application for Tent and Heaters

If you would like to move forward with amending your current encroachment permit to include tents or heaters on public property, please complete the application and e-mail it to

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.