Patio extensions — which popped up across the city to support social distancing during the pandemic — will continue to be seen in the city into 2022, Calgary city council voted in favour of Wednesday.
Coun. Evan Woolley moved the motion. It was approved 13-0.
In 2022, permanent seasonal patio extensions can be built. This allows businesses to plan what they will build next year. Woolley said many businesses didn't have certainty about extended patios, and held back on investing and building permanent structures.
"They have been hugely popular to Calgarians and to the citizens who have used them throughout COVID," Woolley said.
"A lot of them in their unknowns … threw the tables and the chairs out there, not knowing what might happen next year," he said.
Coun. Druh Farrell says extended patios helped keep businesses open during the COVID-19 pandemic, and cited Banff— which turned its main street into a pedestrian only zone — as a successful example.
"What we learned through COVID is, 'hey, we kind of like being outside.' And so I think this will last for well beyond the pandemic," she said.
All permanent seasonal patio extensions must adhere to accessibility standards outlined in the city's mobility networks report.
Extended patios were introduced in 2020, when the city responded to COVID-19 measures by allowing restaurant seating to spill onto the sidewalks.
In 2020, the city put up 116 patios. As of April 2021, requests were at more than 140 patios.
The cost of subsidizing fees and permits will be discussed by council at a later date.