Guide for Temporary Approval for Outdoor Living


In order to help our local dining businesses understand what is involved with this expedited application process, please review the following document to see if your questions can be answered.

Please reach out to Jerry Burns, Zoning Enforcement Officer (ZEO), if you wish to discuss further as this Executive Order makes him our point person for the Town of Burlington.

Please know this is still team effort that may require inputs form the Building Official, Fire Marshal, Bristol Burlington Health District and others as needed to help you safely re-open your establishment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you and we look forward to getting you open and operational in the quickest and most safe way possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are permits required?

No, the Executive Order 7MM (EO7MM) is temporary in nature and requires review by the ZEO and their signed approval for the plans submitted.  An approved application can be found on our Town Website as a News Notice and/or on the Planning & Zoning page in the News & Announcements section of the page.

Please be sure to reach out to the ZEO by email or phone call at (860) 480-0497 as soon as possible to officially accept the application for review and a decision per EO7MM.

This application may be reviewed by the Building Official, Highway Superintendent, Fire Marshal and/or Bristol Burlington Health District for their respective code compliance.                                  

What is the fee?

There are no fees for the Covered Laws per EO7MM.

What if we already have an outdoor dining/retail area approved by the Town?

You may use your existing outdoor dining/retail area but will have to comply with separation guidelines issued by the Bristol Burlington Health District or the State of Connecticut, whichever are more restrictive.

The approved application includes the “Re-Open Connecticut” guidelines from the Governor’s office and should be thoroughly reviewed and understood by any applicant.

Any modifications to exiting outdoor dining areas require the same review process as for those that do not currently exist.

Do I need professionally drawn plans for submission?

A survey is preferred.  If one does not exist, a sketch/drawing would be required. The drawing must conform to the requirements listed on the application form.  Plans and written narrative should allow staff to determine the following:

  1. The exact location and dimensions of the dining/retail area.
  2. Description of any site improvements to be made to accommodate the outside use.
  3. Location and description of any additional signage.
  4. The proximity of the dining/retail area to adjacent uses, including any buffers such as screening/fencing for patron and employee safety.  While not required by EO7MM, it may be made a condition of approval if not shown but is deemed a safety and/or health issue.
  5. The number of tables and how they will be spaced.
  6. Pedestrian and vehicular travel ways including the pathway that will be taken to and from the establishment by staff.
  7. Location of waste receptacles.
  8. Location of any temporary structures, including tent size and locations.
    1. Where required by size, tents must meet construction, wind load, and installation standards.
    2. Where required, tent construction and fire ratings shall be reviewed by the Fire marshal.

Do I need a permit from Bristol Burlington Health District?

All applications under EO7MM will be shared with the Bristol Burlington Health District so they are aware of your business planned changes

Please keep in mind that EO7MM is to get your business open as fast and as safely as possible, but it does not waive any health and safety standards that were and are still in place.

The Bristol Burlington Health District will be notified of all EO7MM application approvals.

Can I use areas of my parking lot, lawn, or other designated outdoor areas?     

Yes. Please include a detailed drawing/sketch as well as a detailed narrative.  This will help keep the application review on the intended Fast Track path.

Can I use opt to do curbside pick-up and setup a dining area for those patrons? What about bar service for this type of plan?

Yes, you can still do curbside pick-up/takeout and provide a new or expanded outdoor seating area per EO7MM. Please include a detailed drawing/sketch as well as a detailed narrative to keep the application review on the intended Fast Track path.

If you have a valid permit from the State of CT for sale of alcohol, you will be able to do so in this arrangement.  See the FAQ below about serving alcohol for more information.

Am I required to cover my dining area (example tent or table umbrellas)?

No, you are not required to cover the temporary dining/retail area.

Can I install tents within temporary dining/retail areas?

While a tent is not required, you can install tents in conformance with all applicable Building and Fire Codes, which will be reviewed by the Building Official and Fire Marshal.

Details must be submitted with the application by drawing and narrative. We may ask for more material information if the drawing or narrative is not detailed enough to address safety and health issues.

Can I serve alcohol (Outdoor Dining only)?

If you have a permit from the State of CT to serve alcohol within your existing outdoor dining area with no modifications proposed, nothing changed and your current approval is still valid.

If you are asking for an expanded area under EO7MM, then your existing liquor permit will extend to any additional outdoor dining facilities the Town approves.

If you do not have a current liquor license, please check with the Liquor Control Commission to see if a temporary permit may be obtained.  You may also allow BYOB in this case.

EO7MM applications are for dining with ancillary alcohol service as permitted by the State of CT.  Outdoor bars are not permitted, and alcohol may only be served ancillary to a primary food service.

Although standalone outdoor bars only are not permitted under EO7MM, you can create a common space with a neighboring restaurant, have food catered in for your patrons or a food truck onsite as examples, as long as it is consistent with DECD guidelines.

Please discuss your plans with the ZEO to ensure compliance with EO7MM as it pertains to bar service.

How long will my temporary EO7MM application approval be valid for?  

The permits will remain in effect until September 9, 29029 unless action by the governor shortens or extends that date. When the Governor’s Executive Order 7MM is lifted and you can resume indoor dining/retail activity, the outdoor activities must be phased out as soon as practical to return to ordinary resumption of business.

In addition to this State of Emergency expiration your EO7MM application approval is subject to revocation for violations of:

  • The submitted plan and narrative that gained EO7MM application approval;
  • The Town of Burlington Zoning Regulations and/or the Town of Burlington Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Regulations;
  • Safety and/or health violations that may put the public or employees in danger.

It is still nice in September and October, can the Town do something to get through the season?

Yes, EO7MM does lay out a strategy for regulations related entirely to the COVID-19 pandemic to be utilized.

The ZEO will advise the P&Z Commission on the Fast Track text amendment option so that all Town stakeholders can gather the data necessary for such an action.

Stay tuned and please visit the Planning & Zoning Commission page often to see the News and Announcements that impact our Town.