Restaurants and cafes that spilled their services into Victoria’s streets, sidewalks and public spaces during the pandemic are allowed to keep operating their once-temporary patios until winter.
Existing patios permitted through the city’s pandemic recovery bylaw will be able to keep operating until Nov. 30, after council on Thursday (May 4) unanimously adopted a motion pushed by Mayor Marianne Alto.
The city in two weeks will rescind its recently adopted patio regulation bylaw, which outlines how businesses can apply to make their pandemic patios permanent.
That new bylaw transitioned the city away from the pandemic-spurred Build Back Victoria program and also set out safety, accessibility and other requirements for patios.
But the patio bylaw also defined the public spaces eligible for certain kinds of patios and brought in regulations meant to ensure the expanded service areas don’t damage boulevards. In recent weeks, a few restaurants flagged they would have to remove their boulevard patios by the end of May under the new rules.
With warmer weather returning to the region for the first time in months, Alto’s motion said the city anticipates a busy summer season with near pre-pandemic numbers of visitors and resident activities throughout the capital.
Victoria will also look into whether the patio bylaw could allow greater flexibility and innovation in the commercial use of public space.
The motion passed on May 4 replaced the mayor’s previous motion, which was unanimously supported a week earlier and directed city staff to report back on the implications of expanding allowable patios on public spaces and closed streets in a way that enables innovative use of unique spaces.
While the capital was going its own route, pandemic patios across B.C. have been given more time to help businesses continue their recovery.
Victoria was prepping for its new bylaw to coincide with the patio season and planned for its pandemic patio programs to expire in alignment with the province’s temporary expanded service area (TESA) regulation – which was set to end on March 31.
The day after Victoria gave its draft bylaw third reading, B.C. announced a final extension of TESA until Dec. 31, 2024.
READ: Mayor lays groundwork for ‘unique’ patio options in Victoria
Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.