British Columbia

Vancouver city council considers expanding patios for restaurants, breweries

Vancouver's curbs and alleys are poised to become the new frontier for foodies, as the city explores open air dining options to help restaurants affected by COVID-19.

City exploring new options to help restaurants hit hard by COVID-19

Patios, dining, waterfront, summer, August 2007 (CBC) (/CBC)

Vancouver's curbs and alleys are poised to become the new frontier for foodies, as the city explores open air dining options to help restaurants affected by COVID-19.

City council will decide Wednesday on a motion to expand patio spaces, in order to help restaurants maintain physical distancing rules outlined in the province's Phase 2 response to COVID-19.

The motion, drafted by NPA Coun. Sarah Kirby-Young, calls on council to explore options that might allow patios to propagate, such as expedited permitting and standardized designs for parklets, an extended platform over a parking space that includes public seating, landscaping and bike parking.

Kirby-Young argues the restaurant industry is among the hardest hit due to COVID-19, and that patios would enable them to serve customers while maintaining physical distancing rules.

"This is really about being more flexible with how they enjoy outdoor space" she told The Early Edition's Stephen Quinn.

"Everyone says we're getting to a new normal and I'm saying, well, maybe it can be a better normal"

Calls for flexibility

Kirby-Young isn't the only politician interested in taking it to the street.

City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan has similarly directed staff to develop a flexible process to allow retailers, restaurants and breweries to expand outside, at least temporarily.

She has also commissioned a feasibility report on alcohol consumption in certain public spaces.

In a letter to Attorney General David Eby, Buchanan called for increased flexibility in outdoor dining and liquor licensing.

"Physical distancing keeps residents and workers safe, but many businesses won't be able to reach a sustainable sales capacity unless they increase their outdoor dining and takeout." she said in a statement.

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