Vancouver issues first sidewalk patio permits, expands program to breweries

A server wears a face mask while cleaning a table on the patio at an Earls restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The City of Vancouver says it has issued its first 14 temporary expedited patio permits.

Council approved the plan in early May, and applications for the program opened Monday.

The initiative is designed to allow restaurants reeling from the impacts of COVID-19 to expand seating into public street, parking and sidewalk space adjacent to their business.

Health officials have cited outdoor dining as one way to keep restaurants open while cutting the risk of transmitting the virus.

The temporary permits are valid until Oct. 31.

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The new program has transformed what was previously an expensive, months-long process into a free, two-day turnaround.

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Restaurants serving liquor still need to get provincial approval for a temporary expansion of their service area.

The city says it has received 46 applications since the program launched on June 1.

In a Thursday media release, the city said the program is also being expanded to cover breweries with a manufacturing licence.

The city says it is still working on expanding the program to offer temporary patios on private property.

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