Put on your sweater and rain gear because outdoor patio season is being extended in Port Coquitlam.
The city has announced that it will allow businesses to continue to use public rights-of-way such as streets, sidewalks and parking lots for commercial activities such as patios, lineups and product displays — until the end of October, 2021.
The Liquor Control and Regulation Branch is being advised of this change which will allow businesses to continue operating uninterrupted, according to a city press release.
That means local restaurants, brew pubs and stores can take advantage of the extra outdoor space for another year and comes as health officials predict COVID-19 will be a factor in B.C. life for the foreseeable future.
“This program has been very well received by the public and our businesses, and it’s been great to see our streets and sidewalks come alive as people took advantage of these new safe places to gather, eat and shop,” Mayor Brad West said, noting that businesses are still struggling and the city needs to look for ways to support them through “these uncertain times.”
The program streamlines the application process with a “one-stop shop” for right-of-way encroachment permits, while also waiving application, security and other permit fees until the end of October, 2021.
Businesses are also offered free in-kind services such as construction of temporary platforms or mobile structures on city property, reconfigured lane markings, revised parking restrictions or relocated infrastructure such as signs, planters, benches, waste containers.
The offer of additional space to allow stores, restaurants and brew pubs to increase capacity has been a boon to local businesses.
In June, North Paw Brew Co’s Courtenay Brown told the Tri-City News it was a welcome move to help businesses adjust to the COVID-19 reality.
“For customers, it’s a complete game changer,” he told The Tri-City News at the time.
Meanwhile, the use of city lanes and a parking lot has helped Giggle Dam’s Mark Friebe open Vancouver Horror Nights safely.
The month-long Fear Maze for adults and kids 13 and older and the Boogieman Bash for the younger kids needed staging areas to manage guests and ensure physical distancing.
Manager AJ Thompson credits the city with enabling the cast and crew to offer a safe way for Halloween-themed entertainment so Vancouver Horror Nights could go ahead.
“The city has been really supportive,” Thompson told the Tri-City News.