Burlington has taken steps to make sure restaurants will be able to keep their outdoor dining areas operating.
At a special meeting this week, councillors approved regulations that will extend the temporary patio bylaw until the end of October next year.
Council also approved measures to make sure winterized temporary covered patios or tents on private property are safe to protect both restaurant customers and staff. Fire, snow clearance and zoning requirements need to be met under this move to protect public health and safety in the event of heavy snowfall, ice or the need to evacuate a tent or building. As well, to help with the continued operation of the businesses, the City will ease some of the costs associated with building permits needed for the temporary structures through a rebate program.
“These initiatives will continue to help some of our restaurants and retail businesses across the city stay open as we continue to face COVID-19 in Burlington,” said Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “Council, staff and local businesses are continuing to work together to cut red tape and adapt to this new normal. We must continue to follow public health guidelines, including social distancing. Winterized patios will help give local businesses that extra space to continue serving their customers in the safest way possible.”
Restaurants that have existing outdoor patio agreements with the City of Burlington and would like to operate a patio throughout the winter must inform the City of Burlington by November 8 of this year.
Through a Winter Patio Task Force, a restaurant that expresses interest in operating their patio throughout the winter season on public land will be evaluated to ensure health and safety measures are upheld, including provincial regulations such as the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code, maintenance obligations under the Municipal Act, 2001 and minimum maintenance standards on public right of ways, public health regulations and relevant local bylaws. The overall safety of the public on the City’s rights of way, such as sidewalks, will also be considered. The City’s Zoning Bylaw will be amended to remove the current time limitations of temporary structures and tents.