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'They’re just trying to survive': restaurants seeking bigger patios before opening
EDMONTON -- With restaurants able to open as soon as Thursday, some are looking to expand patio space to facilitate physical distancing.
Some businesses like Rocky Mountain Ice House have had boardwalk patios in the past, something they and some city councilors agree will be necessary again this year.
“We’ll actually have the space to get rid of every second table,” said Susan Forsey, owner of the Rocky Mountain Ice House.
Bigger patio spaces would allow businesses to accept more customers while obeying provincial regulations, something Forsey believes is important to do now.
“If we do this right and slow, I really think that we will be okay,” said Forsey.
Councillor Andrew Knack has heard this brought up many times from businesses who want to reopen as soon as they can.
“I think they’re going to need that space if they hope to be able to open and be able to serve enough folks to be financially viable,” said Knack.
A hurdle for restaurants is that the permits for boardwalk patios can take months and hundreds of dollars to get, though Knack believes exceptions should be made.
“We can waive the things on our end that would just really simplify the process,” said Knack.
Local businesses have been worried about their financial situations for months now and Knack believes that this will help keep some afloat.
“These businesses don’t have time or the resources for that right now, they’re just trying to survive.”
Knack said in addition to curb lanes, the rules could also be bent to allow patio space in parking lots.
Allowing retail businesses to do something similar is another idea Knack is working on.
“We know what we need to do to support businesses, there’s other cities who are already doing this, let’s not reinvent the wheel here, let’s just make sure we’re doing what we can to support businesses to thrive.”
Knack said he is working with city staff to see what they can do about the issues around permits.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Jeremy Thompson