Licenses, Permits & Inspections

Erie County Department of Health issues licenses and provides regulatory authority or enforces local ordinances for the following.

Restaurants, Grocery Stores or Events

Erie County follows the Pennsylvania Food Code (Title 7, Chapter 46 of the Pennsylvania Code) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Model Food Code in regards to food preparation and retail sales.

  • A license is needed for a restaurant or grocery store any time that food is provided to the public.
  • Applications should be returned to the department while in the planning or construction phase.
  • Applications are reviewed for completeness and must have an equipment list and layout attached.

A temporary event license is issued to any event that is serving food to the public.

  • These events range from large fairs and festivals to smaller community dinners.
  • License is required regardless of whether the food is being sold or given away.
  • For events with more than one vendor, the event coordinator must return all applications at least one week prior to the event.
  • For events with only one participant, the Application for a Temporary Food License must be returned at least one week prior to event.

Campgrounds and Manufactured Home Parks

  • A campground, organized camp or manufactured home park must be permitted prior to operating.
  • These facilities must have approved water and sewer design, as well as plans for safety of the campers or residents.

On-Lot Septic Systems

Erie County works directly with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in regards to on-lot septic systems.

  • Septic permits are needed for new construction, septic repairs and creating building lots.


  • A public school or charter school must be inspected prior to operating.
  • The cafeterias in these schools are licensed under the food guidelines above.

Tattoo and Body Art Facilities

  • A body art facility must be licensed prior to offering any tattoos or body piercings to the public.
  • Any body art must be conducted out of a licensed facility and not a private residence.
  • Licenses for Temporary Body Art Establishments are also available.
  • Applications must be returned at least one week prior to any event or facility opening.

Assistance and Complaints

  • For concerns and complaints on matters overseen by Environmental Health Services of the Erie County Department of Health.
  • For some matters not handled by the Erie County Department of Health, some references are provided.