Markham sets stage to extend outdoor patios

The City of Markham is paving the way for restaurants and small businesses to extend outdoor patios and outdoor display and sales areas once the provincial government permits Phase 2 re-openings in the Greater Toronto Area.

“Understanding that recovery will not be business as usual, we want to give restaurants, bars, cafés and other businesses the flexibility to expand into extra outdoor spaces,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “Expanding patios will also allow them to meet physical distancing and hygiene guidelines. We want to give businesses every possible opportunity to rebuild.”

As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses allowed to open must ensure social distancing provisions are put in place for the safety of their staff and customers.

The provincial government amended Regulation 719 under the Liquor Licence Act to allow licensed bars and restaurants to temporarily extend the size of their existing licensed patio or to temporarily add a new licensed patio until January 1, 2021 at 3 a.m. if they have municipal approval and meet Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) criteria.

City Council has given a temporary use zoning bylaw its stamp of approval, removing the need to provide additional parking as a result of a business’s temporary expansion and allows some businesses to use existing parking spaces or adjacent yards as part of their temporary expanded patios or zones of business.

The bylaw continues to protect adjacent residential zones and will simplify both the site plan approval process and waive any associated fees and the City’s approval process for expanded liquor licences – which must be obtained before requesting the expansion from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

The City will also waive any fees associated with reviewing a proposed patio, removing another barrier that licensed bars, restaurants, and retail businesses may face when seeking approval to extend their operations outdoors. The bylaw expires on December 31.

To learn more about City of Markham’s COVID-19 response and service adjustments, contact its 24/7 web or telephone assistants at www.markham.ca/covid19 or 1.833.926.0929.

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