Vancouver city councillor calls for more flexibility for patio spaces during pandemic
VANCOUVER -- With restaurants looking for creative ways to serve customers during the novel coronavirus pandemic, one Vancouver city councillor is hoping patio spaces can be given more flexibility once businesses are allowed to reopen further.
Sarah Kirby-Yung hopes to see what she calls flexible, innovative and expedited patio permitting so that the city is prepared when restaurants are allowed to reopen.
"Every week counts for the restaurant sector," said Kirby-Yung, who has prepared a motion for council on the issue.
Restaurants were ordered to close in late March, unless they could provide takeout or delivery options. Since then, a survey suggests that as many as half of B.C.'s restaurants say they don't expect to survive the COVID-19 crisis is conditions stay the same.
But some industry experts have launched a task force to figure out ways people can dine out safely during the pandemic, once given the green light by health officials.
With that, Kirby-Yung is hoping city staff will 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.
"I think open air dining makes a lot of sense," she told CTV News. "It'll make people feel more comfortable, first of all. It's healthy, it's safe."
If restaurants can ensure people remain physically distant while dining on patios, the idea could also "really add some fun to our streetscape," the councillor said.
The motion wasn't heard by council Tuesday and instead is expected to be discussed at the meeting scheduled for May 12.