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City to allow temporary patio expansions for businesses

Last Updated May 12, 2020 at 6:00 am MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Alberta is potentially days away from relaxing some COVID-19 restrictions which would allow businesses to welcome back customers inside their establishments.

But as there will be some remaining constrictions — including limiting the number of people who can be inside at one time — the City of Calgary has agreed to take a step towards making it easier for them to serve more people.

During a City Council meeting Monday morning, councillors voted unanimously in favour of a plan to allow businesses to temporarily expand their patios.

If an application from a business is approved, they could have tables and chairs on sidewalks or even extending on to roads and parking spaces.

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“In particular for restaurants, if you’re being held to 50 per cent of capacity it may be hard to make some money. So this allows you to have more capacity while still doing physical distancing, particularly outdoors which may be a bit safer,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

“I’m very pleased to see this.”

There will be no fees for businesses applying for this temporary extension and this allowance will be valid until the province’s third stage of its COVID-19 relaunch strategy.

The city is focusing on high-traffic communities including 17th Avenue, Inglewood, Kensington and Marda Loop for this idea.

There will be several provisions though to make sure it is not an inconvenience.

“Applicants will be required to acknowledge several conditions,” said John Bulger with Calgary Roads.

“These are things like protecting pedestrian accessibility and AGLC requirements.”

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The city is putting a priority on accessibility with the plan, to ensure people can still freely walk around the areas and there is no major disruption to traffic.

Administration will work directly with business improvement areas and local businesses in making this move.

There will also be regular site visits to make sure businesses are not breaking any rules and the patios cause no disruptions.

AGLC will also ensure proper liquor laws are being followed.