If you have additional questions about Temporary Outdoor Seating Areas, visit the main TOSA webpage or email TOSA@arlingtonva.us.

Latest TOSA Update

When will Temporary Outdoor Seating Areas (TOSAs) permits expire?

TOSAs are a result of the Continuity of Government Ordinance (COGO). Elements of the COGO will remain in place for at least twelve months from the end of the local emergency, until August 15, 2023.


Will I be notified when my TOSA permit expires or if there are any changes to existing outdoor dining permit regulations?

All TOSA permit applicants will be notified of any updates and/or changes, prior to February 15, 2023.


Is there any action I need to take to continue to operate my TOSA?

Restaurants with a permitted TOSA and all required certificates of occupancy, including temporary ones, do not need to take any action at this time.


I do not have a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy. Can I still operate a TOSA?

For restaurants that do not have all required certificates of occupancy, including temporary ones, the restaurant owner must submit an application as soon as possible.


If I have an existing valid TOSA, can I submit modifications to my application?

Yes. Please visit the Temporary Outdoor Seating Area webpage to obtain additional information and applications. We would suggest that you schedule a Code Consultation to ensure the proposed seating is compliant with all Building and Fire Code regulations.



Future of Outdoor Dining

When will the study on the future of outdoor dining in Arlington be done?

Phase 1 of the study is complete and staff will present study details and updates in February 2023.


Will I be able to weigh-in on the study, findings and recommendations of the outdoor dining study?

Yes. Future engagement about the study of current outdoor dining regulations will involve a broad range of Arlington’s community, including businesses, residents, and other stakeholders


Will the outdoor dining study be completed prior to the TOSA permits expiration on February 15, 2023?

As part of its study of the future of outdoor dining, the County will be applying the lessons learned from TOSAs. To ensure a level of continuity for restaurants, the timing of any such regulatory or process update for outdoor dining will be aligned with the winding down of TOSA provisions.



Local Emergency & Continuity of Government Ordinance

Why is the local emergency declaration being lifted?

The need for the local emergency is coming to an end as Arlington has an extraordinarily high vaccination rate and the number of cases of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization has been greatly reduced. 

Why was the local emergency declaration put into place?

On March 13, 2020, the County Manager declared a local emergency. The declaration allowed the County to request additional resources from the state and federal governments as available to assist in response and recovery efforts.


When will the local emergency be lifted?

The County Manager will lift the local emergency effective August 15, 2022.


Are Pick Up-Drop Off (PUDO) zones affected by the expiration of Continuity of Government Ordinance?

PUDOs in the public right-of-way are not affected by the expiration of Continuity of Government Ordinance (COGO), but they could be reconsidered on a case-by-case basis as part of the County’s normal curb space management process.



Are carryout and food delivery services affected by the by the expiration of the COGO?

Yes. The COGO authorized the County Manager to temporarily suspend enforcement of existing provisions of County ordinances and conditions in use permits and special exception site plans in certain areas, including carry out and food delivery services for existing food establishments. Establishments can apply for a use permit to ensure continuation of these operations.