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Simcoe businesses pitch physically distanced patios

June 12, 2020   ·   0 Comments

A few restaurants in New Tecumseth are interested in utilizing their private parking lots for creating makeshift patios that better allow physical distancing to take place.

The local restaurants made requests to the Town regarding the patios on Monday, following an announcement from Premier Doug Ford that allows them to reopen tomorrow (Friday) under the Stage 2 Reopening Plan. 

“We did start to receive calls with respect to some of our local restaurants wanting to open up which is a great sign,” Town CAO Blaine Parkin noted.

Simcoe Muskoka’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Gardner said the outdoor approach would be significantly less risky than dining indoors.

“There might be more room if you expand onto a patio outdoors, using up some parking… to be physically distanced as they use the restaurant facilities,” Dr. Gardner noted. 

“It might allow for more spacing for people to enter and exit the restaurant without having to squeeze by other individuals, violating that physical distancing requirement.”

Dr. Gardner said the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit understands that the region needs to learn how to live with the virus and find alternate ways of using public spaces rather than keeping them shut them down entirely.

“It’s going to be far too long a period of time for us with this virus to lose the good of public spaces,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Parkin noted that the Economic Development Department will work with the bylaw staff to see whether parking lot patios can safely operate in certain parts of New Tecumseth.

“We’re still digesting what that might look like but I would suggest that at this point in time our bylaw people could be our first point of contact with respect to that,” he said.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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