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Cities vote to speed up patio permits as restaurants consider reopening
VANCOUVER -- With B.C. moving to the next phase of its restart plan, some cities are considering helping restaurants speed up the process to create patio space as they look to reopen.
Restaurants were ordered to close in late March, unless they could provide takeout or delivery options. One survey conducted late last month suggested that as many as half of B.C.'s restaurants say they don't expect to survive the COVID-19 crisis if conditions stay the same.
On Wednesday, Vancouver's city council voted unanimously in favour of a motion that will give restaurants more freedom in opening patio spaces.
The motion, brought forward by Coun. Sarah Kirby-Yung, directs staff to look at options for how to allow for different types and sizes of patios and also ways to speed up the application and renewal process.
The motion also requested that breweries be allowed to apply to open a patio, which previously hasn't been allowed in the city.
Vancouver's not the only city looking to expedite the patio process for restaurants.
On Monday, the City of North Vancouver's council also voted unanimously for rule changes that would allow for more patio space and make the permitting process easier, at least temporarily.
"All people and businesses want to see B.C. reopen safely and successfully," said North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan in news release.
"Physical distancing keeps residents and workers safe, but many businesses won't be able to reach a sustainable sales capacity unless they increase their outdoor dining and take out."
Buchanan says she has also written to Attorney General David Eby for more flexibility in outdoor dining and liquor licensing on a provincial level too.
"People need safe ways to socialize and make most of the summer months," she said.