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Could winter patios become normal for Calgary restaurants?

Last Updated Oct 14, 2020 at 1:25 pm MST

A temporary patio set up outside Trolley 5 Brewpub on 17 Avenue. Monday, May 25, 2020. (PHOTO: Tom Ross,660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Many Calgarians are still nervous about dining inside a restaurant during the pandemic, but would they go out to a winter patio?

Some restaurants in the city are doing renovations to keep their outdoor spaces open through the snowy season.

Food writer Dan Clapson of EatNorth.com said they might have to get creative and offer alternatives to a big, sit down meal.

“The restaurants that do winterize their patios, you may see a lot more interesting activations outside. Maybe it’s more meant for having a hot chocolate, a warm drink and toasting some marshmallows in a small fire pit.”

WATCH: Snow removal to put an end to some restaurant patios

The arrival of the snowy weather this week spells the end of patio season for many businesses who were given permission to expand patios unto sidewalks during the pandemic.

Some restaurants, including Annabelle’s Kitchen on Stephen Avenue, have already made the move to winterize their patios.

Clapson said while that is a good move, it’s not easy for some businesses.

“The thing with winterizing patios is that obviously, it’s not a cheap endeavour. I think that a lot of independent restaurateurs, unfortunately, just can’t afford to do it. When a restaurant’s profit margins are so low, it can take years for a restaurateur to make that money back.”

He added creativity is the key to success in the pandemic climate as full, sit-down dining might not be possible due to restriction limits and physical distancing.

In September, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the city would consider keeping outdoor patios open into the colder months.

He said that conversation will happen on a case-by-case basis and that restaurant patrons would still need to follow health guidelines.