UPDATED July 7, 2020:


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City Manager Issues Emergency Temporary Zoning Guidance to Clarify Local Procedures for Reopening as Phase 1 of Forward Virginia Plan Implemented

Post Date:05/15/2020 3:50 PM

As the first phase of Governor Ralph Northam’s Forward Virginia plan begins Friday, the City of Williamsburg has issued emergency temporary zoning guidance to local business owners and managers.

The Governor’s order allows for food and beverage facilities to reopen to onsite service using outdoor seating areas. Occupancy at the facilities cannot exceed 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy, if applicable. No more than ten people may be seated as a party. Dining parties must be seated at least six feet apart from each other. Patrons may not self-serve food or condiments. Buffets must be staffed by servers. Bar seats must be closed to patrons. Employees must wear face coverings at all times. Frequently contacted surfaces must be disinfected and cleaned hourly. Tabletops, chairs and credit card terminals and bill folders must be cleaned between each patron’s use. Businesses that do not adhere to the requirements will close.

Many of the City of Williamsburg’s hospitality businesses will have the opportunity to reopen under the plan. The City’s emergency temporary zoning guidelines offer clear procedures pertaining to outdoor seating at all properly licensed restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, wineries and tasting rooms.

“As the Governor relaxes restrictions on businesses across Virginia, it has become obvious the City would need to provide guidance to our local entrepreneurs on best practices,” City Manager Andrew Trivette said.

The guidelines are categorized by facility type and are effective immediately and expire under any of the following conditions: on the revised directive of the City Manager, the adoption of an Ordinance by the City Council, or by July 31, 2020.


Private Outdoor Seating Expansion:

(1) Existing outdoor seating areas may be expanded into adjacent areas including streets and sidewalks so long as the public throughway remains open, applicable special event permits are obtained, and emergency access is uninterrupted. Only locations in downtown Williamsburg will be considered for street closures.

(2) New outdoor seating areas may be created to include portions of the existing parking field provided that the guidelines in Executive Order 61 can be met, and

a. Appropriate barriers must be installed to protect patrons and comply with any applicable ABC regulations.

b. Architectural Review Board requirements for such outdoor seating shall not apply.

c. City Staff shall have the discretion to determine maximum space available for conversion to outdoor seating while providing necessary parking for patrons.

Public Seating Areas:

(1) The City may create outdoor seating areas on Duke of Gloucester Street

a. The street shall continue to be closed for use by vehicular traffic and will have limited pedestrian access from Boundary Street to Henry Street.

b. The City of Williamsburg shall install and maintain tables, chairs, and umbrellas for use by patrons regardless of point of purchase for consumer goods.

c. The seating area shall open at dawn and close at 10 pm.

d. Necessary emergency access shall be maintained for all adjacent structures.

e. Architectural Review Board requirements for such outdoor seating shall not apply.


The City of Williamsburg continues to follow its plan to move Williamsburg forward. If you missed it, here’s what to expect from City services as we fight the pandemic:

Has your business felt an impact from the coronavirus pandemic? If so, Yes Williamsburg might be able to help you. For information on COVID-19 related business resources and grants, go to

Have you flushed your business’s plumbing system since your business closed due to COVID-19? The City of Williamsburg Public Works Department recommends it. For more information on flushing your water system, contact the City of Williamsburg Public Works Department at 757-220-6140 or email

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