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Vancouver councillor submits patio options to help restaurants struggling under COVID-19

Vancouver councillor wants city to ease rules on restaurant patios
WATCH: Vancouver councillor wants city to ease rules on restaurant patios

A Vancouver city councillor has submitted a motion to make it easier for restaurants to open patios and offer open-air dining during the COVID-19 crisis.

Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung said restaurants have been hit hard by the pandemic and expediting the patio permitting process is one way to help them get back on their feet.

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Patios are key revenue generators for restaurants, her motion says.

Ideas on how to safely reopen under physical-distancing rules include “pop-up standing patios” for quick service, expanding the size of patios, and looking at street or laneway space as options.

READ MORE: B.C.’s restaurant industry explores way to re-open amid COVID-19 crisis

Kirby-Yung noted on Twitter that the business sector has adapted quickly to new rules under the pandemic, and the city should follow suit by allowing for “more flexible patio approaches.”

She says the motion will be discussed next month.

READ MORE: 121K B.C. hospitality workers off the job, 28% of restaurants risk going under: survey

Ian Tostenson of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association said last week that members are exploring various ideas, which could include smaller menus to limit kitchen staff and utilizing outdoor space.

Charles Gauthier, president and CEO of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, voiced his support for the motion on social media.

“The city needs to think and act differently as we navigate through this COVID-19 reality for the foreseeable future,” he said. “The priority should be how the city can facilitate innovation and remove bureaucratic barriers to help our restaurants and other businesses survive and thrive.”

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— With files from Emily Lazatin