COVID-19 Public Health Emergency: Click for information including impacts on City services and resources to support the community.
Sonoma Al Fresco

To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Sonoma businesses, the City of Sonoma has been assisting  in temporarily adding or expanding their outside service options to accommodate COVID-19 related health standards.  This allows businesses to remain open and patrons to enjoy Sonoma’s al fresco experiences while maintaining safe areas for pedestrians.

Businesses may provide new or expanded service facilities in the following locations:

  • On sidewalks or public on-street parking spaces (parklets) in front of the business;
  • Outdoor patios, nearby alleys, courtyards, alcoves, or neighboring property (with neighbor agreement); and/or
  • In the Sonoma Plaza park seating area.
  • In the First St E weekend evening street closure area (Initial launch may occur Friday August 14 and Saturday August 15.)

All new or expanded outdoor facilities must comply with applicable Sonoma County Public Health, Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC), and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requirements and regulations.

Businesses that are interested in expanding their facility should submit a Sonoma Al Fresco Pre-Application.  Once the application is reviewed by the City of Sonoma’s Planning Department, a virtual meeting with the applicant will be scheduled to discuss the conditions that must be met in order to proceed.

Review supplemental information, applications, and permits below. For questions on the Sonoma Al Fresco Program please email or call 707-938-3681.

Facility Expansion Pre-Application

Pangloss Cellars Expanded Facility
Expanded Outdoor Seating for Pangloss Cellars on 1st St E. (Photo by Ryan Lely)

The first step for any business interested in expanding thier facility is to fill out the Sonoma Al Fresco Pre-Application. This form takes the place of the Business Service Area Expansion Pre-Application and the Plaza Park Pre-Application. Within the pre-application, applicants will be asked to identify all the potential outdoor space(s) they are interested in expanding into. It is highly recommended that applicants select all options of interest.

Sonoma Promenade - First St E Street Closure Weekend Evenings

SONOMA PROMENADETo create safe opportunities for businesses to operate, the City may be closing First Street East along the Plaza (between East Spain Street and East Napa Street) Thursday through Sunday evenings between 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM through October 4th, 2020. Initial launch of this program may occur Friday August 14 and Saturday August 15.

To streamline the issuance of temporary rights of encroachment into the public right-of-way, the City has created this streamlined Outdoor Temporary Facility Weekend Expansion Permit.

The schedule for street closures will be based on interest. If this is a program you would be interested in participating in please complete this form and email it to Lisa Janson at

Sonoma Plaza Park Seating Area

the girl & the fig's Summer Pop Up on the Sonoma Plaza
The girl & the fig's Summer Pop Up on the Sonoma Plaza.

A 2020 Plaza Permit Application is required for applicants who wish to expand service to the Sonoma Plaza Park. The use of the park is limited to 11 am –9 pm, Thursday through Sunday. As this is a public park, the operator will be required to assume full responsibility for the cleanliness (including COVID-19 preventing disinfecting), garbage collection, safety, security and overall community impact of the space assigned to you. In addition, you will need to make your business’ restrooms available to your customers. Use of the space will require working with Plaza grounds/maintenance staff, City staff, public safety officers, etc. to ensure that we minimize impacts on the park and public’s ability to enjoy the historic community asset and its amenities.


public works staff fill up water barriers
Public Works Staff Fill Up Water Barriers for a Parklet at B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille.

A parklet is a sidewalk extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street. Parklets are installed on parking lanes and/or parking spaces. Parklets can extend out from the sidewalk to the width of the adjacent parking space.

Facilities provided on sidewalks or public on-street parking spaces require a Parklet Encroachment Permit, which provides additional outdoor seating into the public right-of-way roadway and sidewalk while also ensuring a safe path for pedestrian traffic. The applicant is required to identify the parking spaces they are requesting to utilize and is only allowed to request the use of the parallel parking places on the City street adjacent to the building they occupy. This permit requires the approval of the building owner.

If the applicant intends to place seating alongside the building and cannot maintain 6 feet of social distancing between patrons and pedestrians,, they will need to construct a temporary sidewalk extension to accommodate pedestrians and should a submit a Temporary Sidewalk Extensions Permit.


Sonoma County Public Health Guidance for Outdoor Dining

This document provides guidance for dine-in food facilities, including restaurants, tasting rooms, wineries, breweries and distilleries to support a safe environment for customers and staff as services are expanded for outdoor dining in Sonoma County. This document is not intended as a substitute for Health and Safety Code guidelines for safe food handling and should be incorporated into a facility’s best practices for food safety.



On Monday, May 18, 2020, Sonoma City Council adopted a resolution authorizing the City Manager to create and implement new re-opening and recovery measures through the issuance of Temporary Use Permits, Encroachment Permits, and/or Licensing Procedures to allow the City’s businesses to expand their operating space utilizing public sidewalks, the Plaza, Grinstead amphitheater, public rights-of-way (including parking areas and roadways), their own property or neighboring properties with neighbor agreement, while respecting social distancing requirements.

The City Manager and delegated staff are authorized to waive fees associated with these action as described in City fee schedules for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. This action was done to provide additional outdoor space for business operation and physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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