Health department says paws welcome on restaurant patios as long as permit in place

Posted at 7:08 PM, Jun 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-14 21:08:10-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake County is becoming more dog friendly, and "Paws on the Patio" is the permit local restaurants and bars can apply for to gain permission to become an official dog-friendly business where customers can bring their dogs to patios, so long as certain regulations are followed.

The permit comes with a price tag, but one restaurant in town says it’s worth the cash.

The pup population in Salt Lake County is at an all-time high, and more and more people are looking for dog-friendly options when it comes to dining.

Back in 2012, the Salt Lake County Board of Health amended its food sanitation regulation to allow dogs on outdoor dining patios--if the bar or restaurant applied for permission and met a few requirements.

“The patio will need to be cleaned every six hours unless there is an accident, then it needs to be cleaned up immediately,” said Andrea Gamble, who is a supervisor in the Bureau of Food Protection for the county health department.

Dogs can’t eat on the patio, but are allowed water. They must be on leash and off furniture.

“There’s very strict rules and regulations that you need to follow to make sure it’s safe for people dinning on the patio,” Gamble said.

Camp Fire Lounge in Sugar House is the first and only Salt Lake County bar to apply for and receive a permit—which they said has worked to their benefit.

“Any given day there’s at least half a dozen here, it’s really nice,” Bartender Alec Gehrke said. “Definitely now that the summer is coming, there’s a lot more out.”

Pig and a Jelly Jar owners say they are planning to apply as well, while others are making do without it.

“The option that we do give guests as of right now is to be able to dine on these tables alongside of our railing, so that their dogs can actually be on the other side of the railing,” said Keri Driggers, who is the general manager for Flatbread Pizzeria.

The "Paws on the Patio" permit is $350 when the business registers and $100 to renew each year. In a press release, health department officials said that many establishments already allow dogs on patios, and in the coming weeks they will be asking those businesses to go through the official process for approval.

The press release details the regulations pertaining to having dogs on restaurant and bar patios, see below for the list:

  • The 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