City of Hot Springs Will Allow Restaurants to Offer Extended Outdoor Dining


May 8, 2020– In an effort to support the overall resurgence of Arkansas’ number one tourist designation – Hot Springs – and to keep residents and visitors safe, the City has worked to allow the May 11 Phase One reopening of restaurants in the city to include outdoor dining. All participating restaurants must strictly adhere to the Secretary of Health and Governor’s guidelines on food service operations.

The directive, which comes from City Manager Bill Burrough, hopes to provide restaurants the ability to increase their customer capacity from the 33% indoor requirement with the use of outdoor areas, which may include underutilized parking lots. This directive comes about after a coordinated effort between the City, Visit Hot Springs, the Governor’s Office and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division.  Restaurants that have a permit to serve alcohol will be allowed to do so in their designated outdoor dining areas.

The directive is effective May 11 through August 1, or at the time the Governor allows restaurants to function at 100% capacity. It allows temporary accessory structures, such as umbrellas and canopies, without a permit during the pandemic for currently established and licensed restaurants with the City of Hot Springs, so long as all local, state and federal regulations and guidelines are followed. Canopies and umbrellas shall be wide open on all sides, and not within or against a fence or other obstruction. Tables and chairs may also be placed in striped parking places, as long as driving lanes are kept clear for customer and first-responder access. All outdoor lighting should be contained on-site, and noise limits should be observed by refraining from amplified sound. Temporary signs will also be allowed on the restaurant’s private property.

Restaurants using tents with one or more sides, or canopies and umbrellas within or against a fence or other obstruction, will require a permit. No fee will be charged during the pandemic. Tent structures must be constructed of a fire-retardant material. Additional information on these guidelines will be found at