Planning, Permitting and Construction

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Permitting Business Hours: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. (M-Th), 9:15 a.m. - 4 p.m. (F)

TTY 711

12055 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, VA 22035

Multiple Development Agency Directors,

Determining Your Business’s Maximum Occupancy

Update! Maximum Occupancy Certificate Online Viewer Unveiled:

Fairfax County Land Development Services is pleased to announce a new online application that will allow businesses and the general public to find posted maximum occupancy loads of assembly spaces through the new Maximum Occupancy Certificate Viewer. In Governor Northam’s Safer at Home guidelines, facilities in Virginia were authorized to reopen at reduced occupancies based on the spaces’ permitted occupant load. The values noted in the viewable Maximum Occupancy Certificates can assist in meeting the state-mandated guidelines. The maximum occupancy load available in the new LDS app is historic and for informational purposes only. To obtain a new Fairfax County maximum occupancy posting, business owners must apply for a new maximum occupancy permit.


May 26, 2020

If you are a Fairfax County business owner, you may be preparing for reopening per Governor Northam’s Forward Virginia Plan. Once Fairfax County transitions to Phase One of the Governor’s Forward Virginia Plan, some businesses will be limited to a reduced number of customers based on their spaces’ maximum capacity.

Assembly spaces, such as restaurants/bars and gymnasiums, that can hold 50 or more people receive a county-issued Maximum Occupancy Certificate prior to final inspection. Use your certificate, original construction plans and Non-Residential Use Permit (Non-RUP) to determine your maximum occupancy. If you have none of these documents, you have the following options:

  1. Submit a request to the county to obtain copies of your original Non-RUP, construction plans or Maximum Occupancy Certificate. For Non-RUPs, email the Department of Planning and Development; for building plans or Maximum Occupancy Certificates, email Land Development Services. Please note: If your establishment has received a final building inspection more than three years ago, the county no longer has a copy of the original construction plans. 
  2. If you are an assembly space with a capacity of 50 or more, and you would like a new Maximum Occupancy Certificate, you must apply for a new building permit. Learn more.
  3. For restaurants, use your existing interior seating count (you may include bar areas) to determine your outdoor Phase One maximum seating which is limited to 50% of your existing interior seat count. This count is not required to be submitted to or approved by the county to reopen your restaurant.

More information about assembly spaces can be found online.

Is your business a non-assembly space?

If the purpose of your establishment is for business, commerce, mercantile or similar and does not qualify as an assembly space, you can find your maximum occupant load on your non-RUP or construction plans approved during your original permit application. If you do not have these documents, you have the following options:

  • Submit a request to the county to obtain a copy of your original Non-RUP by emailing the Department of Planning and Development.
  • If it has been less than three years since your establishment received its final building inspection, you can request a copy of your original plans by emailing Land Development Services. Please note:  If it has been more than three years, the county no longer has a copy of your plans.
  • Hire a registered design professional (architect or engineer) licensed in Virginia to calculate your occupant load using the methodology found in the Virginia Construction Code. This computation is not required to be submitted to or approved by the county to reopen your business during Phase One.

Please Note: The county does not provide Maximum Occupancy Certificates or compute occupant loads for non-assembly spaces.

If you have other questions regarding operating your business during COVID-19, you can find many resources at Fairfax County’s COVID-19 for Businesses, Organizations and Employees.

Contact Name
Mary Mulrenan
Contact Information

Public Information Officer
Fairfax County Land Development Services

Fairfax Virtual Assistant