Sidewalk Cafe Frequently Asked Questions

As a result of COVID-19, the City of Windsor has agreed to waive all fees associated with obtaining a sidewalk café permit from 2021 to 2023, in an effort to support local restaurants and small businesses. 2024 Update: Fees associated with the current sidewalk café season have been waived for 2024.

A sidewalk café is an outdoor seating area located within a public right-of-way that functions as a seasonal extension of the restaurant. In order to operate a sidewalk café, one must obtain an annual permit.

How do I obtain a Sidewalk Café Permit to install an outdoor patio for my business?

Email with the following information to be reviewed by the Right-of-Way Division:

  1. Completed Sidewalk Café Application Package or Parklet/Curbside Café Application Package
    • Proof of Insurance, satisfying the City of Windsor’s requirements
    • Any new or modified sidewalk cafés require a drawing, complete with café and clearance dimensions as outlined in the Sidewalk Café Handbook.
    • Parklet and Curbside Cafés only - Complete the Checklist and provide any documents required within.

What are the fees associated with obtaining a Sidewalk Café Permit within the public right-of-way?

  1. Indemnity fee: $1,000.00 (waived from 2021 to 2024)
  2. Permit fee: $275.00 (waived from 2021 to 2024)
  3. Annual café fee: $3.00 per square foot (waived from 2021 to 2024)

What are the insurance requirements for obtaining a Sidewalk Café Permit?

A Commercial General Liability Certificate of Insurance is required in the amount of two million dollars ($2,000,000.00) per occurrence with a property damage deductible not to exceed $5,000 and the applicant shall name The Corporation of the City of Windsor as an additional insured.

How many types of Sidewalk Cafés are there?

There are three types of Sidewalk Cafés offered through the City of Windsor:

  1. Standard Sidewalk Café (two choices for the operating duration)

    • 3-Season Café – Operates from March 1 to November 30.

    • Year-Round Café – Operates from January 1st to December 31. Year-round café requires one (1) heater (propane or electric) for every ten (10) people that will occupy the patio, and heaters must be included on the Certificate of Insurance.

  2. Parklet Café A patio which is constructed within the limits of a parking stall, fronting the applicant's business.

    • Operates from April 1 to November 15.

  3. Curbside Café (Detoured Walkway) – Allows business owners to extend their sidewalk café to the curb line, while providing pedestrians with a clear path of travel through the entire width of the adjacent parking stall.

    • Operates from April 1 to November 15.

What clearances does the Sidewalk Café have to maintain?

  • A minimum 1.6 metres (6 feet) clear pedestrian aisle sidewalk must be maintained in all areas or as determined by the City Engineer.
  • Café entrances must maintain a minimum of 1.5 metres (5 feet) and up to 2.0 metres (6.5 feet) unobstructed path to the door of the restaurant for universal access.