In an effort to help local restaurants cope during the pandemic, Guelph/Eramosa Township has decided to allow the establishments to set up temporary patios without rezoning.
Patios must be located on private property and cannot be set up on township property like sidewalks. They also must be approved by the township’s chief building official and the fire chief.
Permits for the temporary outdoor dining spaces will last until Oct. 31.
“It’s really just another way to support our downtown businesses,” Mayor Chris White said. “I’m happy to get this in place because COVID or no COVID, I think patios are a great thing for our township and I’d like to continue to support them and make it as easy as possible for businesses to put them in place.”
White expects the new rules to be popular with restaurants in Rockwood, for some of whom “patios are critical for their survival,” with indoor dining not permitted until Step 3 of the province’s Reopen Roadmap.
The township is also working on a new policy to simplify the application process for permanent patios and White said he expects some of the outdoor dining spaces established this year to stick around long-term.
“As long as they meet all the health and safety needs, we’re happy to make it happen,” he said, adding patios could be popular with some of the around 80,000 people who visit Rockwood Conservation Area annually.
Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com