The Health Department issues five types of permits:
Do I Need A Permit?
The Health Department regulates the serving and sale of most food related businesses. It also oversees all publicly accessible aquatic recreational facilities, licenses and (geo-thermal, irrigation or potable). The most common type of permit the Health Department issues is an .
The following types of facilities* are not regulated by the Health Department:
- Fitness or Health Clubs*: including fitness clubs, gyms, martial arts facilities, or yoga/palates studios.
- Massage*: contact the State Board of Nursing
- Medical Facilities*: Chiropractors, doctor's offices, nursing homes, hospitals, urgent care facilities, etc. Contact the state medical boards
- Personal Grooming*: barber shots, beauty salons, nail salons, tanning, etc.
* Facilities that have pools, spas, food service operations, or overnight guest accommodations are still regulated as an .
Establishment permits are the most common permit issued by the Health Department. These permits include:
- Food Permits: Restaurants, carry-outs, caterers, cafeterias, grocery stores, convenience stores, bakeries, meat/poultry/seafood markets, mobile food units (food trucks), commissaries, vending machines (for food that requires refrigeration), and food services for hotels, bed and breakfasts, child care facilities, schools, colleges, hospitals, nursing homes, detention centers, adult care facilities, and summer camps.
- Aquatic Health: Pools, spas, water-slides, interactive fountains.
- Transient Housing: Hotels, motels, hostels, Bed and breakfasts (Some extended stay establishments do not meet the state regulations for a hotel-please call for clarification).
- Camp Grounds and Migrant Camps
To get a new establishment permit:
- Apply for a
- Submit other required paperwork (varies by establishment type)
- Pass a pre-opening inspection
You will need other permits and licenses to operate in Alexandria. Visit the Licenses & Permits from the Business hub above.
Renew a Health Permit
Some health permits must be renewed each year. These include establishment permits and pool management licenses. Temporary Food permits cannot be renewed; the maximum length for this type of permit is fourteen days.
- Submit application with application fee (and late fee if applicable)
- Submit other required paperwork, like Variance Renewal Requests, Mobile Food Establishment forms, electrical inspections forms, etc.
Your new permit will be mailed.
Temporary Food Permits
People or groups that want to sell or give away food at a public event must apply for a temporary food permit. Food vendors must submit an application and fee at least 30 days prior to the event. Charitable organizations are not automatically exempt from permits or fees. Applications submitted after the 30 day deadline will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Additional permits from other city departments may be required. Visit alexandriava.gov/39824 for more information from the Special Events Office. City sponsored events are listed on the City's calendar. For general information about food safety, visit alexandriava.gov/foodsafety.
The City of Alexandria has several farmers’ markets operating within the city limits. If you would like to sell or give away food at any of these markets, complete and submit a Farmers' Market Food Registration Form to the Health Department. Remember that any prepared food sold at the market must be made in an approved kitchen. Contact 703.746.4910 for more information.
Visit alexandriava.gov/FarmersMarket for more about local markets in the city. Visit to learn more about labeling requirements.
Pool Management Licenses
Pool management companies are businesses that operate an aquatic facility for its owner. They are consider experts in their field and usually have a staff of licensed pool operators or lifeguards. Many apartment communities, condominium associations and hotel groups will hire such companies to handle the day-to-day maintenance of their pools. In Alexandria, pool management companies must be licensed by the Health Department if they manage a facility. To obtain a license, they must submit:
Both potable and non-potable wells (including geo-thermal wells) must obtain a permit from the Health Department prior to drilling or abandonment. To obtain a permit, a plan review is required to be submitted Well Permit Application form and . Call 703.746.4910 for more information.