The restaurant industry has been on a roller-coaster for the past year as provincial health orders close and then reopen indoor dining. With the most recently announced restrictions allowing outdoor dining, however, the Town of Pincher Creek is lending a helping hand to local restaurants.
“It was just a moment of realizing we have picnic tables, we have barricades that can be used to set up a perimeter, which is required for patios, so we just thought let’s do this — let’s support our restaurant and food and beverage industry,” says Marie Everts, the town’s marketing, events and economic development officer.
The town is making pop-up patios available for restaurants that want them. Setting up dining opportunities at each restaurant’s location, she adds, was a priority in an effort to keep as many servers and staff employed as possible.
Delivery and pickup will be provided by the town, and pop-up patios are available for free, though a $500 refundable damage deposit is required.
Businesses are also required to store the equipment inside at the end of each day and follow all Alberta Health sanitization protocols. Appropriate wind-resistant outdoor garbage and recycling receptacles must also be provided by each establishment.
So far, a patio has been set up at Boston Pizza, with Bear Grass Bistro and the Heritage Inn signing up to receive sets next week. The town is also exploring options with Harvest Coffeehouse about setting up a street patio.
Additionally, a grant application was submitted for federal funding through the Healthy Communities Initiative, which would provide eight parklets that can be installed on the side of a street to create outdoor eating space.
The application was submitted before the return to Step 1 restrictions was announced, though Marie says the reasoning was still centred on supporting local businesses.
“For the summer months, we felt like we were going to need more places for people to eat outside,” she says, “and again we want to support our food establishments and be able to hopefully give them some extra space for people to purchase and support local.”
Word on if the application was successful is expected May 14.
The pop-up patio equipment is limited to a first come, first served basis, so businesses are encouraged to contact Marie via email at email@example.com or at 403-627-3156 to register. Information is also available on the town’s website at bit.ly/PC-pop-up-patio.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze