Callander restaurants, your patio program has been extended

·2 min read

Callander diners, drinkers, and restaurateurs, the news is good—the seasonal patio program is being extended throughout 2022. Not spilling your drink from excitement? Well, here are the details for your patio pleasure.

Covid’s first wave was in March 2020, and in April, the provincial government passed the Reopening Ontario Act 202, which gave municipalities power to address challenges brought on by the pandemic. Restaurants certainly fell into the challenged category, as they were forced to close their doors for much of the next two years.

For most establishments, selling take-out was not paying the bills, and capacity limits when restaurants were open, meant less profit potential.

See: Local restaurants serving at half capacity hope economic recovery is on the menu

The province created Regulation 345/20, which gave municipalities the ability to allow restaurants to build new or expand existing patios for businesses on private property that would be considered temporary, used only during the warmer months.

Plus, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), “also removed the bureaucracy of temporary expansion permits,” Callander’s municipal staff informed council. The Commission also “gave municipalities the power to control these temporary patios” under the province’s Emergency Order.

Essentially, restaurants could enlarge their temporary patios without the amount of paperwork they had in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

The town has “taken advantage of the AGCO’s temporary policy,” and Callander’s council intends “to permit outdoor patios again for the 2022 season” under the conditions of that policy.

There are no capacity restraints this year, which means 100 per cent of the chairs can be filled. By allowing patios to expand, “there could potentially be a situation where the capacity is exceeded,” and the town plans to review “capacity limits as directed by AGCO to ensure they are not exceeded” and the restaurants “continue to meet their licenced capacity.”

“We’ll let them have their patios again this year,” explained Mayor Robb Noon, “we just want to make sure that everything follows the by-laws.” Overall, “having more patios is something we’re trying to develop” as a town, Noon said, as the spaces will encourage more people to linger at downtown businesses.

A few businesses took advantage of the eased restrictions, Noon added, “and we want to make sure they can continue to do so.”

It’s a “small gesture,” the municipality admits, but one they are able to help with just the same which “will assist these businesses in getting through this difficult time.”

Municipal staff plan to reach out to all Callander restaurants to advise them on the upcoming patio season and answer any questions they may have.

“All restaurants will be informed of the need to calculate maximum capacity prior to issuing permission to operate their extended patio,” staff explained.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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