Knoxville offering additional outdoor seating permit for restaurants

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Restaurants in the city now have an extra option to keep their guests socially distanced amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Indya Kincannon on Monday announced the Temporary Use of Outdoor Seating for Restaurant Dining permit.

The temporary expansion permits are available to restaurants across the city and can be for both public and private outdoor spaces including, but not limited to, private parking lots, public parking spaces, and underutilized public and private property.

“Local restaurants took a huge financial hit this spring, and we want to help any way we can,” Kincannon said. “My hope is that more open-air dining options will help businesses stay open. This move could also go a long way in helping both employees and customers feel safe as more people return to dining out.”

Several business owners have expressed interest in this idea, including Tomato Head co-owner Mahasti Vafaie, who plans to apply for a permit for additional space.

“This is another creative solution that could really help right now,” Vafaie said. “The wellbeing and viability of our staff, customers and community continues to be a top priority. This will help us continue to serve everyone’s needs, as well as add to the charm of our beautiful downtown.”

All applicants must secure written agreement from surrounding businesses, residents or property owners affected by the proposed expansion. Measures must also be taken by permit seekers to protect surrounding development, traffic patterns, safety issues and the environment.

You can find out more and fill out an application at


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