- Pets allowed only in outdoor seating areas
- Restaurants must meet health and safety conditions
- Public Health staff working closely with restaurants
ARLINGTON, Va. – Twenty-seven Arlington restaurants that have met the County's health and safety conditions, and received a variance, now allow “doggie dining” in designated outdoor areas.
“Arlington's restaurant dining culture is fun, festive and increasingly, includes outdoor seating,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “Arlingtonians love eating in our great restaurants. Now, those who own dogs, and who take appropriate precautions, have the option of bringing their pets along when they dine at restaurants that meet all the requirements and have obtained a variance.”
Only outdoor dining with dogs
Any restaurant with an appropriate outdoor seating area may apply for a variance. Restaurants that receive a variance must agree to comply with conditions designed to minimize risks to the dining public's health and safety, including:
- Signs must clearly mark which tables are “dog-friendly”
- Outdoor dining area must be accessible from a separate entrance, to ensure that pets do not enter through the indoor area
- Tables may not be pre-set with cutlery, glasses, or plates, but must be set only diners are seated
- Food may not be prepared in the outdoor dining area – only served there
- Incidents must be promptly reported
- Dogs that are disruptive or in poor health must be excluded by restaurant staff
- Dogs are not allowed on chairs, seats, benches, or tables, and must be on a leash and under control of an adult at all times.
County staff working closely with restaurants to ensure compliance
Tejada noted that Public Health staff has worked closely with restaurants to ensure that the restaurants' operating plans comply with all health and safety requirements, and staff will continue to work with restaurants on an ongoing basis.
The County has left it up to the restaurants that receive a variance when or whether they wish to allow dog-friendly dining areas in outdoor cafes. It also is left to the restaurants with variances to decide which outdoor tables are reserved for patrons with dogs.
For a complete list of the restaurants that now have a variance for “Doggie Dining,” visit the County website, or check with the restaurant.
In April 2013, the Arlington County Public Health Division (PHD) notified restaurants licensed by Arlington County that a process to grant variances from the general prohibitions on dogs in food establishments had been developed.