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City of Ottawa extending patio season to December 31

Mayor Jim Watson admits winter weather could hinder some local restaurants, so the city is trying to give them as many options as possible to keep their heads above water.
2020-07-15 ByWard Market extended patio CK3
Extended patios in Ottawa's ByWard Market, July 2020. Chris Kurys/ OttawaMatters

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says the 'toolbox is limited' when it comes to the city helping small businesses fight their way through a COVID-19 winter, but leaving patios open as an option for restaurants is one of those remaining tools.

A motion passed at city council on Wednesday, which will see patio season extend to December 31.

"Look at, I'm realistic. If it's 30 [degrees Celsius] below [zero], you're not going to be having a fine dining experience on a patio, that's for sure," explains Mayor Watson. "But if we happen to get some spells of warmer weather, and people have installed these propane heaters which supply direct heat and they're installed safely and properly, then it can expand the shoulder season for people who want to dine outside."

"It's not the cure-all," admits the mayor. "I wish we had a climate that was a little more indusive to more than just four or five months of patios. But what we're trying to do is at least waive those [patio] fees and allow those restaurants to have a fighting chance of surviving during the challenging times of the colder weather in Ottawa."

Watson adds that the city is coming up with a plan for winter that will see snowbanks removed quicker than usual in high-traffic curbside pickup areas, such as Wellington West, Montreal Road, Elgin Street, St. Joseph Boulevard and Bank Street.


Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Digital Editor, CityNews Ottawa & the Valley
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