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Council receives report on temporary restaurant patio program

February 2, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Town council received a report on recommendations for this year’s temporary restaurant patio program at their Jan. 30 meeting.

The Temporary Restaurant Patios Program was introduced in 2020 to support restauranteurs affected by COVID-19 health measures.

The program streamlined the approval process for temporary patios installed on private property and right-of-ways from May 15 to Oct. 15, annually.

Since 2020, all fees and charges associated with the program have been waived by council to support restaurants recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and to help create a draw to the downtown areas.

The program provides additional revenue opportunities for the local hospitality sector.

The report detailed the program and provided a recommendation to continue to waive fees and charges associated with obtaining temporary patio permits.

The program provides restaurants that do not have a permanent patio space on their property to take advantage of in the summer months and offer safe outdoor dining space to their customers. Patios are able to operate in parking lots and adjacent premises on private properties, as well as at curbside locations on town right-of-ways.

In 2020, 11 restaurants participated in the program. Eight were on private property and three used the curbside stream. In 2021, 17 restaurants used the program, with six being curbside and 11 on private property.

Economic development staff spoke to some of the participants about their decision not to participate in 2022. One of the primary issues in not participating was a labour shortage when it came to finding wait or kitchen staff to cover the additional tables.

Restauranteurs wanting to participate in the program must submit an application at least three weeks in advance of their planned installation date. Town staff in Engineering, Building, By-Law, Clerks, Public Works, Fire, and Planning departments review the applications to ensure they meet municipal and provincial health and safety legislation.

The application includes site-specific conceptual site plan drawings, formal approval from the property owner, a copy of the establishment’s certificate of inspection from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, a copy of the establishment’s liquor license for the principal establishment if applicable, road occupancy permit if applicable, liability insurance, and a professional engineer certificate in cases where a bump-out sidewalk is required.

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