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."
Also thanks to @JimWatsonOttawa for making a strong pitch this morning encouraging Ottawans to keep supporting their local businesses. Later in the meeting, Council will vote to extend patio season and waive fees for the 2020-2021 winter patio season. pic.twitter.com/7uOMSRFb4J— Wellington West Business Improvement Area (@Wellington_West) September 9, 2020
"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."
Great news! Patio season in #Ottawa has been extended and the city will continue to waive patio fees in support of #localbusinesses. This gives businesses another tool in their toolbox to provide safe spaces to customers. pic.twitter.com/Bx07c9iJe0— Laura Dudas (@Laura_Dudas) September 9, 2020
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.