Website launches to help Victoria residents find patios, support local restaurants amid lockdown

Website launches to help Victoria residents find patios, support local restaurants amid lockdown
File Photo
Breakwater Cafe in James Bay

Victoria residents who might be looking for a restaurant patio during the ‘circuit breaker’ restrictions are in luck as a new website has launched focused on connecting locals with the hospitality industry.

A website, jointly launched by Blackfish Networks and Host250 in collaboration with the Victoria Hospitality Facebook Group, is aiming to become a resource for Islanders to find locations to eat while encouraging the support of local restaurants and the hospitality sector.

The site, entitled Victoria Patios, includes a directory of restaurants that have outdoor seating or are offering takeout options for pickup and delivery.

Users who access the website can search for venues based on targeted locations throughout Greater Victoria or whether a restaurant is open for patio dining, delivery, or takeout.

Developer Bill Speta also feels that it is a good way to introduce restaurant-goers to new places that they may have never visited.

“I like to think that I know a lot of bars and restaurants throughout the Island but I was pleasantly surprised to see submissions from places I didn’t know existed,” Speta told CHEK News. “The project became quite exciting when I started receiving emails of thanks from venue owners that I haven’t personally met or heard of.”

Speta notes that it is simple for local restaurants to get listed on the site as owners simply need to visit the Victoria Patio submission page and sign up for no cost.

“It’s a tough gig to run a profitable bar or restaurant and since COVID hit, many places have really suffered, so we built the site with the intentions of solidifying the bond that all the hospitality industry folks have together and to make local residents aware that these places need everyone’s support,” Speta added.

Speta says the website was created with the intention of helping the industry through the next few weeks of lockdown, however, he sees value beyond the April 19 deadline.

“We have plans to add some additional features and really make it a great resource for everyone to use to find their next great meal or drink,” the IT technician said, while emphasizing that “this industry puts meals on our tables; literally and figuratively speaking.”

The website officially launched on Friday, April 2, and so far, Speta says the feedback has been exceptional.

“I’ve personally received just under 100 emails in the last 48 hours with messages of thanks from owners. We’re really excited that people are embracing the idea, and it goes to show that everyone is really keeping a positive attitude while the current situation might be anything but,” he told CHEK.

The Government of B.C. is currently stressing that transmission of the coronavirus has been linked to confined, indoor spaces, which sparked the recent restrictions. Over the last week, Island Health has seen 336 new COVID-19 cases as transmission surges across the Province.

Community hubs like Victoria Patios, however, can be a helpful, safe resource for individuals or households who might still be looking to support the local hospitality industry, while still staying outside and following guidelines.

So when it comes to picking a restaurant, what does one choose? Speta implies you can’t go wrong, wherever you are in Greater Victoria.

“There are so many really inventive and awesome patios that have recently been built so it’s hard to pick a favourite!”

Vancouver Islanders can browse available hospitality options by clicking here.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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