Charlottetown's COVID-19 patio program on track to return
'We thought because of the uncertainty coming up this summer, that it would be a good idea to extend'
Charlottetown's COVID-19 temporary patio program could be back again this summer.
The program was initially established to help businesses deal with the pandemic and give customers the chance to enjoy the outdoors.
"I think the city is constantly looking for ways that we can help the community, help local businesses," said Coun. Greg Rivard, the chair of protective and emergency services.
"We thought because of the uncertainty coming up this summer, that would be a good idea to extend."
'It went fantastic'
As snow covered the city on Monday night, council looked ahead to sunnier days and voted unanimously to extend the program from Oct. 31, 2020, to Oct. 31, 2021.
The bylaw allows downtown establishments to occupy a parking space with chairs and tables for $300 — half the price of the city's regular patio program.
"We feel it went fantastic," said Rivard speaking about the program.
"I think the restaurants thought it was good, especially with the limited capacity that they're allowed to have within the restaurants, this offered extra seating to make up for some of the losses."
And while he said it did allow for additional business and the ability to space patrons out, there were perks for customers as well.
"The other advantage, of course, is the experience of sitting outdoors at your favourite restaurant and being able to enjoy the sun, which is a great bonus."
The amendment will now go on to be read a second time during council's next public meeting.
A need for more spots
As for the city's usual patio program, Rivard said there are also discussions around potentially amending that too.
Currently, he said only 24 parking spaces are available for businesses serving food or drinks. However, last year Rivard said the city received around 27 applications and so far this year it's close to 30.
"Long term, we're looking at adjusting the 24 number of full-time decks and patios to maybe be a larger number," he said.
"Then we just take applications in and figure out what people want, work with local businesses and get them ready for the summer."