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Relaxed Signage Regulations

Open sign iconAs businesses look to alert customers that they are open and to follow social distancing protocol, they may need additional and creative signage. In most communities, both permanent and temporary signs require permits and allowed signage area is limited. Relaxing or suspending signage regulations, including for both temporary sandwich board signs and store windows signage, would allow businesses to quickly install the signs needed to operate safely and attract customers. Properties within local historic districts may require a separate permit from an historic district review board for temporary signage. The historic board might consider delegating review of temporary COVID-19-related signs to town staff if their bylaw allows. For longer-term changes (beyond temporary COVID-19 measures) approval by relevant boards may be necessary.


  • Limiting signage to certain types of businesses and ensuring it is COVID-19-related 
  • Ensuring circulation on sidewalks, streets, and elsewhere is not impeded 
  • Ensuring signage does not inhibit vehicle sight lines and safety  
  • Possibly limiting the size of signage, such as how much of store façade or window area can be covered by temporary signage 
  • Limiting additional illumination for temporary signage 
  • Establish a time frame for the suspended or relaxed regulations 

Sample administrative review checklist for temporary relaxed signage permit 

  • Completed application or form that specifies the size of proposed temporary signage, general content of the sign, where it will be located, and whether it will be illuminated 
  • Sign content is COVID-19-related (i.e., explains health procedures, designates pickup areas, etc.) 
  • Any proposed lighting for temporary signage is consistent with existing lighting regulations 
  • Temporary signage is in commercially zoned areas or on properties where commercial use is already permitted 
  • Signs do not restrict pedestrian circulation areas 
  • Signs do not impede handicapped parking spaces or handicapped access 
  • Signs do not obstruct vehicle sight lines 


  • South Pasadena, California relaxed temporary signage requirements for banners, window signs and sandwich boards to allow businesses to communicate more effectively with customers. Businesses must obtain a no-cost encroachment permit to ensure that all temporary signage adheres to their guidelines. 
  • Derby, Kansas suspended permitting requirements for temporary signs in non-residential areas.



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