With the province starting to re-open, and the indoor dining restrictions lifted, it is uncertain what the future for the temporary patios would look like.
In March 2020, the province announced that restaurants, breweries and wineries in B.C. would be able to apply to temporarily extend their restaurant spaces to patios to help with the losses due to pandemic-related closures. The province set an expiry date of Oct. 31, 2021 and has now extended it to June 2022, said Anne Berry, the city of Pitt Meadows’ planning director.
Berry said the city had only a handful of temporary patios, but if they apply for the provincial extension, the city will definitely consider it. The city has so far issued only four temporary patio permits. According to Berry, the city will look at the extension application on a case-by-case basis, but no decisions have been made about making these temporary structures permanent after the provincial extension runs out.
Maple Ridge, which has several businesses that took advantage of the temporary patios, will also be open to approving the businesses’ permits until the extension deadline. Wendy Dupley, the economic development director for Maple Ridge, said the city would do everything in their power to support local businesses.
“No sector has been hurt more than hospitality and the service industry and we are happy to support our businesses,” she said.
The city’s economic development department plans to extend the temporary patio permits until the provincial extension deadline. She also said the province recently gave a green light to municipalities to consider applications from businesses who want to make these temporary structures permanent.
However, Dupley clarified that no business has approached the city to ask them to consider permitting their patio to be permanent, and the city is proactively looking into criteria that would help them determine eligibility of such applications, if and when they come.
“Internally, departments are starting to have this conversation, but there are a number of considerations we need to keep in mind. There are some locations, where we have given permission for the temporary patios but having a permanent fixture is not feasible. So we have to form the criteria and are in the process of putting together a working group internally,” she said.
For the time being, the outdoor patios will continue to be offered throughout both Maple Ridge, and Pitt Meadows and community members can continue enjoying outdoor dining through summer.
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