The City of Vancouver has extended its free temporary expedited patio program to Oct. 31, 2021 for restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said today.
That means that the temporary patios – which in some cases have allowed some restaurants to regain capacity at their establishments to a level close to pre-pandemic numbers – will be able to operate throughout the winter and into next spring and summer.
The program was introduced on June 1 to allow restaurants with available outdoor spaces to re-purpose seating that was indoors to the outdoor area, provided that social distancing measures are maintained.
Originally, the patios approved to operate were to stay open until Oct. 31 of this year. As of Aug. 14, 361 patios were approved (291 on public property and 70 on private land) – and the City of Vancouver noted that the number has increased to more than 400 approved temporary patios as of today.
In a statement, Vancouver general manager or development, buildings and licensing Jessie Adcock said that officials “heard clearly from businesses that this is an urgent need, and the City made many operational and policy changes very quickly to make this happen.”
Officials also admitted that there will be seasonal complexities to patio dining in the fall and winter months – something that the City “will learn and adapt” to as the process goes along.
For a full list of approved temporary patios, click here.
Meanwhile, the City of Burnaby has also extended patios for another year beyond the city’s original Oct. 31 closing date.
City council heard the matter in a council meeting last week, in which staff noted the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch announced, on Sept. 18, their own extension to the liquor licensing for expanded patios until Oct. 31, 2021.
City staff noted council had two options to continue the extended patios: pre-approval to cover all liquor primary businesses, breweries and distilleries or to review and approve all individual applications prior to submitting them to the LCRB for approval.
Staff recommended council go the pre-approval route, and city council voted in favour of the proposal without comment.
Council originally voted to approve the program on June 1, and one business owner said it’s been a relief for his brewery.
Ben Coli, owner of Dageraad Brewing, told the Burnaby Now in early September that he wanted to see the patios to continue at least until spring. Even if the patios aren’t populated through the winter, he said he expects it would at least prepare the businesses to bounce back in the spring.