City of Windsor renews on-street patio program this year to help businesses handle COVID-19 restrictions

·2 min read
The Panache Restaurant in downtown Windsor took advantage of the parklet program last year and will again this year.
The Panache Restaurant in downtown Windsor took advantage of the parklet program last year and will again this year.

(Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)

Windsor City Council has approved carrying over last year's on-street patio program for the city's restaurants.

The restaurants will once again be permitted to use city parking spaces for outdoor patios from April 1 to mid-November.

The parklets are geared to allow the restaurants to have extra capacity for customers during COVID-19 restrictions.

Michael Stojcic is the owner of the Panache Restaurant in downtown Windsor. He was one of several restaurant owners who took advantage of the program last year.

"I think that's a huge deal for us. It would have been a deal breaker for us not to have it this year. It was an incredible benefit from last year," Stojcic said.

Windsor Downtown Business Improvement Association chair Brain Yeomans addressed council pushing for the continuation of the program.

"We know that businesses still haven't quite recovered because literally they haven't been able to move forward for two months during the winter," Yeomans said." And now we're able to do the parklets and extended patios again. This is going to be excellent news."

Windsor Downtown BIA chair Brian Yeomans.
Windsor Downtown BIA chair Brian Yeomans.

The city said it will waive fees associated with patio permits and parking that total $47,970.50. Administration is also being asked to consider waiving some licensing fees for some of the businesses at its discretion.

Ward 4 Coun. Chris Holt, who put forward the motion to go ahead with the program, said last year's program had benefits he didn't expect.

"Actually cleaning up areas and making them more vibrant places and safer places," said Holt. "And I hope that our businesses use this going forward to recover a little bit."

WindsorEats will also once again hold food halls in the Lanspeary Park skating rink from April to November with provisions for some charity event dates.