Reopening Businesses – Outdoor Seating Permits and Information

reopen connecticut logoThe City of Groton shares your determination to reopen your establishments and return your employees to work. To support these goals, the City of Groton has established a Business Reopening Task Force. The Task Force is designed to assist businesses with their reopening and guide them in the safety protocols provided by the.  Members of the team include the Mayor Hedrick and the Mayor’s office and members of the, Fire, Police, Zoning, Building, and Economic Development Departments.  We have prepared this document to assist with expanding outdoor areas for restaurants. We now have included a streamlined process to enlarge or establish an outdoor dining area throughout the pandemic period.  When restrictions for indoor dining are eased, we stand ready to work with your team to implement safety protocols for those future operations.

Our Task Force will work with you and your staff to address the many challenges ahead. We are committed to supporting your operations and return to profitability. For assistance, please contact Carlton Smith, Building and Zoning Official 860-446-4134 or Cierra Patrick, Economic Development Specialist, at 860-446-4066 or for specific questions regarding the permit process.

The City of Groton will be following the guidelines established by Governor Lamont in the REOPEN Connecticut guidelines.


New/Expanded/Tent Outdoor Seating Information and Requirements

Outdoor Seating Permit:

  • Expansion of a previously approved indoor/outdoor dining area or establishment of new outdoor dining requires submission of the two Outdoor Seating Permit documents found at the bottom of this page to be approved by the Building Official, Fire Marshal, and Zoning Officials (ALL FEES WAIVED).
  • Temporary outdoor dining permits and expansion of existing permits will be valid until full indoor dining restrictions are lifted by the State of CT.
  • Outdoor Seating Permit MUST include:
    • Property owner signature/authorization
    • A site plan sketch is required with permit indicating new, expansion or tent area. You may use the Town of Groton GIS property maps.
    • Outdoor dining area must be clearly delineated by railings, stanchions, or other suitable barriers and shown on the plan. No service shall be permitted outside delineated area.
    • Handicap access to and from the seating to the building, restrooms, and parking areas must be shown on the plan.


General Outdoor Seating Information

  • Patio space and tents shall not block fire department access.
  • No outdoor food or beverage prep shall be permitted.
  • Social distancing must be maintained. No waiting queues are permitted; patrons required to make reservations or have a mobile device notification.
  • No parties greater than 5.
  • Outdoor area must close no later than 9:00 p.m. (Sunday-Thursday) 11:00 p.m. (Friday and Saturday)
  • Must maintain clear path for pedestrians a minimum of 6’. Failure to abide by the required criteria can be cause for the City of Groton to revoke the right to have outdoor seating
  • Number of persons permitted in the outdoor space is limited to 50% of normal occupancy load. Any questions about the current occupant load for the business establishment should be directed to the fire marshal’s office, 860-446-4106 or e-mail


Tent Requirements

If tents are erected permits are required only for tents greater than 400    square feet in area or 700SF in total if open on all sides.

Membrane material should comply regardless of the size of the tent.

Tents over 900 sq. feet will require a physical inspection from the Office of the Fire Marshal and the Building Department prior to permit use. All tents must comply with the following:

  • No Sides
  • No heaters under the tent o No cooking under the tent
  • All tents up to 900 sq. ft. can only be occupied by 50 people or less
  • Electricity is permitted with a Building Department Inspection
  • Any tent within excess of 10,000 square feet should not be closer than 12 feet to another structure.
  • No smoking, fireworks or open flames of any kind shall be permitted in any tent or shelter.
  • NO SMOKING signs shall be posted.
  • No flammable liquids or gases (this includes LP gas) shall be brought into any tent.
  • Fire extinguishers are required.
  • Tents shall have at least TWO means of egress remote from each other.
  • Means of egress shall have suitable exit indicating signs.
  • Tents with center poles shall have them securely lashed to ground driven stakes
  • Tents shall not be erected for more than 180 consecutive days per CSFSC     3103.5.
  • Dining areas must be protected from vehicle traffic with an approved method (ex. Cement block/barrier) when appropriate but must not interfere with access for first responders.


Temporary Certificate For Outdoor Dining And Retail Uses
Temporary Certificate For Outdoor Dining And Retail Uses
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Temporary Certificate For Outdoor Dining
Temporary Certificate For Outdoor Dining
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