Uplift Local Business Support Details

Immediate changes to support outdoor business.

County Public Health Mandatory Directives

In an effort to provide clear guidance for specific industries, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department has issued industry-specific rules to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission. These directives went into effect on July 13, 2020.

Mandatory Health Officer Directives:

  • Food Facilities (PDF)
  • Outdoor Dining (PDF)
  • Personal Care Services (including hair and nail salons, tattoo and piercing shops, massage therapy, and other services providing body care) (PDF)
  • Gyms and Fitness Facilities (PDF)
  • Construction (PDF)
  • More industry-specific directives are available on the County's new public health order page.

Temporary Street Closures

California Avenue

Now through May 2021, California Avenue will be closed to through traffic from El Camino Real to Birch Street to allow outdoor dining, retail, and personal services. The temporary closure will be every day of the week through May 2021. The community is encouraged to park in the City’s garages and lots, or walk or bike to California Avenue. Parking is free and time restrictions continue to be waived as a result of the current public health emergency.

Curbside pickup is still available if you still prefer. Check out this map(PDF, 424KB) for curbside pickup locations. 

University Avenue

Now through May 2021, most of University Avenue from Cowper Street to Ramona Street will be closed to through traffic to allow outdoor dining, retail, and personal services. One-way, eastbound traffic between Kipling Street and Cowper Street is allowed. The temporary closure will be every day of the week through May 2021. The community is encouraged to park in the City’s garages and lots, or walk or bike to downtown. Parking is free and time restrictions continue to be waived as a result of the current public health emergency.

Ramona Street

Now through May 2021, Ramona Street from Hamilton Avenue to just past Nola is closed to through traffic to allow for outdoor dining, retail, and personal services.

Alternate Uses for Parking

The City is allowing businesses to use public parking spaces to create parklets and up to 50% of private parking lots to create more outdoor space. Outdoor dining and retail continue to be supported, and now outdoor gyms and personal services are allowed to operate in these alternate spaces as well.

Businesses need to apply for a free encroachment permit or submit an application.

Free, Expedited Uplift Local Encroachment Permit

Restaurants and retail stores seeking to expand their outdoor dining and retail experience to California Avenue or University Avenue must complete the Uplift Local Encroachment Permit(PDF, 751KB). This program is free and staff is expediting reviews to encourage a safe and timely reopening. Insurance requirements and other details can be found in the permit application. Once your application is filled out, email it to outdoor.dining@cityofpaloalto.org.

Weatherization: Preparing Outdoor Areas for Winter Weather

This "Preparing Outdoor Areas for Winter Weather" document provides rules and guidance regarding how outdoor spaces can be adapted for winter weather. Topics covered include lighting, heating sources, and coverings for outdoor spaces. Through these rules and guidance, the City hopes to facilitate the continued vibrancy and operation of Palo Alto’s business districts and shopping centers through outdoor operations.

Expanded Outdoor Sidewalk Dining and Retail

Businesses can apply to expand their outdoor dining or retail onto the sidewalk as well. It is the same process highlighted above. Fill out this Uplift Local Encroachment Permit(PDF, 751KB), and once completed, email it to outdoor.dining@cityofpaloalto.org. Insurance requirements and other details can be found in the permit application.

Other Temporary Options to Support Outdoor Business

Parklets

The City has engaged an architect to develop standard designs that can allow quick and consistent approval of future temporary parklets in Palo Alto. Whether you use the plans or not, all parklets must meet the conditions set forth in the Parklet Standards and Other Requirements. Parklet construction can occur only after applying for and receiving a parklet permit. If you are interested in adding a parklet, please submit a permit application. The temporary parklet program will be valid through September 7, 2021.

Privately-Owned Parking Lots and Private Outdoor Areas

For restaurants and retail food businesses with privately owned parking areas and patio areas, you may create temporary outdoor dining areas following the City’s Outdoor Dining Guidelines after you have completed and submitted the Temporary Outdoor Dining Application form to outdoor.dining@cityofpaloalto.org. City staff are tracking the businesses who have submitted a completed form to register the outdoor dining area. This temporary program allows up to 50% of private, off-street parking spaces to be used for outdoor dining and/or outdoor retail. City staff will review to ensure circulation is maintained and vehicular areas are separated from pedestrian/seating areas. For small parking lots of 10 spaces or fewer, up to 100% of those spaces may be temporarily dedicated to dining and/or retail.

Gyms and Personal Services

Gym and personal services business may submit a request to conduct business within a public or private parking lot. This temporary program allows up to 50% of private, off-street parking spaces to be used to move gyms and personal service uses outdoors. For small parking lots of 10 spaces or fewer, up to 100% of those spaces may be temporarily dedicated to outdoor gyms and personal services. Public parking lot use requires issuance of an encroachment permit. Submit your application to outdoor.business@cityofpaloalto.org. City staff will review it to ensure circulation is maintained and vehicular areas are separated from workout/service areas.

 

City Council Expanded Uplift Local

In addition to adopting the resolution to close University Avenue, Council took several actions at their June 23, 2020 meeting to further expand the Summer Streets program (now called "Uplift Local"). Council approved a pilot parklet program and design requirements in an effort to provide more outdoor public space. Also approved was a temporary ordinance to allow 50% of a private, off-street parking lot to be temporarily converted to an outdoor dining or retail space. Other actions include allowing establishments with valid ABC licenses to serve alcohol in outdoor dining areas, and the option for the City Manager to permit dining, retail, or other activities on City-owned parking lots. View this list (pg. 33-34 of the PDF) for an overview of City Council legislative action to support businesses during this time.

Share Your Feedback

The Uplift Local Program was created to help Palo Alto businesses and temporarily support outdoor dining, retail, and personal care experiences in Palo Alto’s business districts such as Cal Avenue, the Downtown core, and other areas within the community. Through this survey, we would like to get your thoughts and feedback on the program. 

Take the Survey

Business Check-In Meetings

These informal business check-in meetings are held via Zoom and are open to members of the business community to provide feedback on the program. Zoom details will be added soon.

California Avenue

Every other Tuesday from 4 - 4:30 p.m.

  • April 13
  • April 27
  • May 11
  • May 25
  • June 8
  • June 22

University Avenue

Every other Monday from 4 - 4:30 p.m.

  • May 10
  • April 12
  • April 26
  • May 24
  • June 7
  • June 21

Helpful Links