Street patios outside a number of restaurants along the waterfront in White Rock, B.C., are going away.
City council voted Monday to restore two-way traffic to Marine Drive, allowing vehicles into the westbound lane that has hosted patios designed to support local businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council said the decision represents the will of business owners along the White Rock strip.
Vickie McNulty of the Moby Dick Restaurant said they saw a 50-per cent decrease in takeout orders after the changes to traffic patterns went into effect.
“It really decreased our business, for sure,” she said. “I believe why it would be is because getting access to East Beach right now is very difficult for people and time-consuming.”
While some reported a decline in business, others say they did well. Waterfront eatery Charlie Don’t Surf made a significant investment, bringing in six tables and hiring 10 extra staff.
“A lot of the people that this benefited are now in the dark again,” Kyle Grant of Charlie Don’t Surf said. “I’ve had two staff call me today saying, ‘Hey, what are the hour cutbacks going to look like? Do I need to go back on EI?'”
Some businesses are expected to be able to keep their patios until the end of September. Council voted to approve the lane closure on May 10. Three weeks later, it amended the closure to end once restaurants could return to full capacity, which happened July 1 as part of Step 3 of the province’s restart plan.
“The truth is some of them did exceedingly well and that’s a benefit to them and to the city,” White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker said.
“But there had to be the balance there. So the ones that did well, that’s great, but there were others that believe that it wasn’t working for them.
Marine Drive could reopen to two-way traffic as early as Aug. 7.