News Flash

City of Falls Church Economic Development Office News

Posted on: May 26, 2020

Phase One Reopening Information for City Businesses

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The City of Falls Church encourages eligible City businesses to research and prepare for reopening on Friday, May 29, 2020. Governor Northam’s website details the mandatory requirements for reopening.

NEW: A summary of the information below is available on a downloadable flyer.

The City continues to evaluate the impact of COVID-19. This continues to be an ever-changing event. Businesses are encouraged to subscribe to news from the Economic Development Office,, for the latest information.

Governor Northam’s Requirements and Best Practices

The Governor’s website,, is an excellent resource for your business reopening. On the website business owners can find:

City of Falls Church Permits for Using Outdoor Areas, Changing Outdoor Seating, and Setting Up Tents

Here is additional City specific information on the minimum requirements for using additional outdoor areas and/or tents.

Outdoor Seating at Restaurants
If you are using your pre-COVID outdoor space for dining, you do not need any additional permit to reopen that outdoor space. Please review the Governor’s mandatory requirements to find more details.

Use of Sidewalks or Parking Lots for Additional Outdoor Uses
To use a sidewalk or parking lot for additional outdoor seating or other business, the business must create and submit an Outdoor Area Plan. It must include:

  1. A hand-made or computer-generated document, drawn to scale, showing:
    • Seating area / business use area and capacity
    • Tent location (if applicable)
  2. Property owner’s written permission with signature

Email the Outdoor Area Plan to All plans will be evaluated based on code regulations for safety and ADA requirements, and it is possible that not every permit will be granted. You must have a permit before proceeding with your plan. (Note: the City’s Emergency Declaration allows the City Manager to suspend parking and other zoning requirements for the purpose of facilitating outdoor dining).

Tents for Outdoor Dining or Other Uses
You will need a tent permit. If the tent will have electric lighting or other electrical service, that also will require a permit and a safety inspection by the City.

Tents are restricted by size and area (maximum size is 30’x30’ with an occupant load of 30 persons). Calculations on occupancy inside the tent area will be limited to 50% of tent capacity as outlined by the Governors Executive Order. The tent application and the requirements for Phase One are here: and The permit fee for tents is waived for the COVID-19 emergency.

Feel free to contact the City’s Permits team at with any questions.

Fairfax Water Guidance for Building Water System Flushing After Closures

Is your facility reopening soon? Flush the pipes to ensure optimal water quality. Visit Fairfax Water’s website for more information, or contact them at 703-698-5800 (TTY 711) or

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