As summer approaches, cafes, restaurants, and bars in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are still unsure as to what the season will hold.
Ordinarily they would be able to count on an uptick in business, but with future restrictions still up in the air, that is far from certain.
The local Chamber of Commerce thinks removing some red tape around outdoor seating might help the bottom line of these eateries and watering holes having a difficult time without dine-in options.
Al Hogarth said both city councils should consider removing a need for formal patio applications.
“In an effort to assist these businesses and help them survive, an aggressive campaign to allow all restaurants, pubs and cafes to expand their outside service areas to allow them to serve their clients whilst still complying with Covid 19 and safety regulations, seems in order,” he said.
Hogarth said anything the cities can do to be of assistance would be appreciated.
“Some of these these businesses are really struggling with not being able to have any customers inside, and with limited capacity on the patios they do have, so hopefully the city will be able to fast track applications a bit better.”
Maple Ridge’s director of economic development said the city has been doing their best to make things as easy as possible for their local companies.
Wendy Dupley said since the last provincial regulations were announced a few weeks ago, 18 applications for patios have come to the city.
“Some of those are being turned around in the same day,” she said.
“We have done everything we can to facilitate a really expeditious turn around on every patio (application).”
Dupley noted all fees for the requests have been waved for the remainder of 2021 too.
“We’re trying to support these businesses in any way we can,” she said.
The city asks applicants to submit a simple drawing, provide approval from a landlord and provide details of insurance.
“The only restrictions we are putting into place is making sure that (patios) meet health and safety regulations,” Dupley said.
“We don’t want members of the public who use these patios to get hurt. Other than that there isn’t really red tape at all.”
The City of Pitt Meadows has a set of guidelines for COVID-19 temporary outdoor patios and sidewalk cafes, which can be found on its website.
Restaurants, pubs and other commercial or retail business in the city can apply for a temporary outdoor extension for their business until October 31, 2021.
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