New rules set stage for more patios in Abbotsford during COVID-19

City eases rules for restaurants hoping to expand their footprint outside during pandemic

Restaurants, pubs and other eateries can now apply to the City of Abbotsford to use sidewalks, parking spots and even roads to serve patrons over the summer in order to maintain physical distancing.

The city tweaked its special event rules Monday to set up a process where businesses can receive the go-ahead for expanded patios while the COVID-19 state of emergency remains in place. Don’t expect new patios to start popping up overnight, though. Businesses will still have to pass review by city officials and the medical health officer.

Businesses that would normally need council’s sign-off before applying to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch will also now be able to skip that step and apply directly to the LCRB.

Restaurants will be able to expand their footprint – but won’t be allowed to host more people than their current occupancy limits allow. The outdoor seating is hoped to give each patron more room. COVID-19 is also known to spread much better indoors, rather than in places with good ventilation.

RELATED: Province streamlines patio applications for B.C. restaurants, wineries, pubs

Businesses will be able to apply through the city’s website, staff said.

Council voted unanimously to approve the changes.

“Anything we can do, especially during the summer, to help them be able to [increase] the capacity for seats, I am 100 per cent in favour of that,” Coun. Bruce Banman said.

Mayor Henry Braun urged residents to shop local.

“Spend your money locally. Support our local businesses because they do need our help.”

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