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May 12, 2022

SLCo Health Announces Restaurants Approved to Allow Dogs on Patios for 2022 Outdoor Dining Season

Nicholas Rupp - Email

(SALT LAKE COUNTY)—The Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD) announced today which Salt Lake County food service establishments have received the regulation variance that allows them to welcome dogs to their outdoor eating areas.

Currently, 38 food-service businesses in Salt Lake County have received the variance for the 2022 season and can legally welcome canine companions to their patios. Establishments with approved patios may display a department-provided “Approved Dog Patio” sticker for the season, if they choose.

The variance applies only to dogs, not other animals, and does not affect qualifying ADA service dogs in any way. Federal law requires that service dogs individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability must be allowed in all public areas of a food establishment. Emotional support animals, comfort animals, companion animals and therapy animals are not considered service animals under the law.

To receive “dog patio” approval, dog-friendly food-service businesses need to submit a special processes safety plan (known as a HACCP Plan), pay an application fee of $330 (which covers the staff time necessary to review the safety plan and conduct an on-site inspection of the patio) and agree to a few simple rules:

  • Establishment must post signs that notify patrons that dogs may be on the premises
  • The patio must have an outdoor entrance so dogs don’t have to go through an interior dining area, and there must be self-closing doors between the patio and interior area
  • The patio must be cleaned with animal-friendly chemicals at the beginning of each shift, or every six hours if the business does not have defined shifts
  • Any dog bathroom “accidents” must be cleaned and the area sanitized within 5 minutes
  • Wait staff and other restaurant food-handlers may not touch any dog
  • Dogs must remain on-leash, and must have collars with current license and rabies tag
  • Dogs may not be on tables or chairs
  • Dogs should be given water in a disposable container, but may not eat food (including dog food or treats)
  • Dogs may not have contact with any dishes or utensils

The variance is good for one summer dining season and establishments in good standing may renew it in subsequent years for a $130 fee.

In May 2012, the Salt Lake County Board of Health amended its food sanitation regulation to allow dogs on outdoor dining patios—if the business owner applied for permission and met the above maintenance and service requirements. The department received its first variance applications in 2015 and, by 2017, 12 establishments included approved patios. The list included 16 eateries in 2018, 22 in 2019, 32 in 2020 and 28 in 2021.

Food service establishments interested in applying for the variance should contact the Food Protection Bureau at 385-468-3845.