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City launches temporary expedited patio permits to help businesses impacted by COVID-19

As we restart our local economy, we need to implement solutions that are flexible, innovative, fast, and safe.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart

June 1 2020 –

As part of Council's commitment to support businesses recovery efforts and to repurpose road space for physical distancing, we have launched the Temporary Expedited Patio Program, which permits restaurants and liquor-serving establishments to set up temporary patios using street, on-street parking and sidewalk space in front or next to their business for free. 

Apply online

Between now and October 31, 2020, these businesses can apply online for their temporary small, large, or curbside patio permit at vancouver.ca/temporary-patio. Those who meet the mandatory requirements can expect to receive their permit within two business days of submitting their completed application.

“As we restart our local economy, we need to implement solutions that are flexible, innovative, fast, and safe. Many restaurants, pubs and breweries have been hit hard by COVID-19 and fast-tracking patio expansions is just one of the actions the City is taking to help them succeed as they re-open,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

Moving indoor seating outside

These new permits allow businesses to move their indoor seating outside. Every restaurant has had to reduce the amount of seating they can offer in order to maintain physical distancing measures. Now with the Temporary Expedited Patio Program, seating can be provided on new outdoor patios, all while allowing for physical distancing measures for patrons and employees as outlined by the Provincial Health Officer.

“The repurposing of space within our streets represents a tremendous opportunity for us to support mobility, public life, businesses, and neighbourhoods, said Lon LaClaire, General Manager, Engineering. “These temporary patios are one of a number of public space partnership initiatives with our BIAs and others.”

Speeding up the application process

To speed up the application process, we have provided template patio drawings for businesses to use in their online application, and a team of dedicated staff will be reviewing the applications as they come in.  

Businesses intending to serve alcohol on their patio must also meet Provincial liquor licensing requirements  and obtain provincial approval for a temporary service area expansion.

“As Vancouver recovers, these businesses are quickly adapting their operations to the new normal. Our streamlined online application process is designed to be simple and user-friendly to help them get back up and running and serve as many patrons as possible,” said Jessie Adcock, the City’s General Manager of Development, Buildings and Licensing. 

Next phase of the program

Work is underway on the next phase of the program, which will include complex patios on private property and manufacturing businesses like breweries. In the meantime, businesses may submit enquiries for these patios to us. More details on this next phase of the temporary expedited patio program will be announced in the coming weeks.

Ongoing business support

In an effort to assist the businesses community, we have established the COVID-19 Business Communications and Support Office. 

The office is a single point of contact for Vancouver’s local business owners to get information from the City of Vancouver regarding business support programs, to learn what City-run business services are currently available, and to make suggestions to us concerning business and the economy.

Local businesses seeking help can connect with the office by:

Background:

  • On March 19, Council passed a by-law that allowed the City of Vancouver to issue emergency orders to help curb the spread of COVID-19
  • On March 20, 2020, the City issued an order restricting restaurants from offering table service and limiting the number of customers in any place to no more than 10 people. Only takeout or delivery were allowed
  • On March 26, one business licence was suspended for three days due to violations of both the City Order and those of the Provincial Health Officer
  • On May 12, Council directed City staff to work on a new, faster online application process to provide increased flexibility for restaurants to provide service outdoors 
  • On May 19, the City rescinded the emergency order to shut down restaurant table service