Nanaimo approves on-street restaurant patios amid pandemic

Nanaimo approves on-street restaurant patios amid pandemic
Penny's Palapa Facebook
Restaurants in Nanaimo, like Penny's Palapa restaurant, will soon be able to expand their business out into city streets

The City of Nanaimo is temporarily changing the rules to allow restaurants and bars to pour their business, and drinks, out in the city streets this summer.

During Monday’s meeting, city council discussed and approved the trial downtown restaurant patio program to run from June 1 to September 30.

This will make it easier for business to increase their capacity by providing them with outdoor patio space on city sidewalks and roads, allowing patrons and staff to maintain more physical distance.

B.C.’s top doctor Dr. Bonnie Henry has said the virus is harder to transmit from person to person outside, as the droplets that carry the virus often dry up and die in the sun.

This is not the first Island city to approve of businesses taking over public spaces, as Victoria city council gave the green light for outdoor patio spaces three days prior.

Nanaimo is shifting $25,000 in funding from the Downtown Events Grants towards the construction of the patios.

The city says it has been given pre-approval for the interim service of alcohol in the expanded areas for liquor primary and manufacturing licenses until Oct. 31 and will be notifying the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch of the changes.

The current city approval process for temporary service area expansion of these businesses will also be suspended until Oct. 31.

And to create even more space for drinks and nachos out in the sun, council also endorsed the temporary use of parking spaces on private property for commercial business patio expansions.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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