Windsor Getting Ready for Patio Season – City of Windsor Working to Support Restaurants’ Recovery
The City of Windsor says it is committed to supporting local bars and restaurants in their recovery from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as the hospitality sector prepares for a very different 2020 “patio season.”
With bars and restaurants now able to re-open, City Council has passed the following measures to help reduce the burden on Windsor area bars and restaurants:
- Waiver of the railing requirement for sidewalk cafes for the balance of 2020, consistent with updated guidelines from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario;
- Moving forward with a Parklet and Curbside Cafe Pilot Project, in partnership with the Walkerville BIA; and
- Partnering with all City of Windsor BIA’s to enable temporary road closures, sidewalk cafes and extended patios to support social distancing and encourage “buy local” efforts.
“I want to thank Councillor Chris Holt and the leadership of the Walkerville BIA for stepping forward with this initiative. Our Curbside Pilot will create more space for area bars and restaurants to host patrons and support the local economic recovery in Windsor.” -Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens
City of Windsor Support for Small Businesses:
Mayor Dilkens and Windsor City Council have previously announced various measures to support local small businesses during the public health crisis, including:
- Deferral of property tax payments until June 30;
- Waiving all fees associated with sidewalk cafes for the remainder of 2020;
- Enabling WindsorEats proposed outdoor food hall in Lanspeary Park;
- Providing over 10,000 litres of complimentary hand sanitizer product to local small businesses and community organizations; and
- Supporting our regional recovery through the WindsorEssex COVID-19 Economic Taskforce.
Now that the City of Windsor is permitted to enter Stage 2, bars and restaurants will be permitted to host customers on site once again, but all establishments will need to adhere to strict public health guidelines. Enabling more space for outdoor and open-air dining experiences will allow for more patron seating, while maintaining appropriate social distance requirements. The Province of Ontario has made significant resources available on-line for businesses which are re-opening.
General COVID-19 Safety Reminders:
- Stay 2 metres away from others.
- Don’t crowd others when standing in line.
- Keep gatherings to 10 people or less.
- Wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face.
- Carry hand sanitizer.
The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association say that extended patios and sidewalk sales will soon dot downtown streets. Restaurant patios have been common since the 1940s and sidewalk sales harken back to the early 1900s – but they’re going to make all the difference for small businesses in 2020!
“We are thrilled to have the city’s support behind small businesses in downtown Windsor. These expedited processes will allow our restaurant and cafe owners to begin their economic recovery from three months of essential shutdown.” – DWBIA Chair Brian Yeomans
The city will also permit any non-licensed establishments or retail businesses to use the sidewalk space in front of their locations for cafe-style seating or sidewalk-sale style tables.
The Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association is also excited that the city has promised to work with the DWBIA and downtown establishments to facilitate safe road closures. The DWBIA is presenting proposals for extending patio seating into curb lanes where possible to the city in the coming weeks.
Administration has also committed to evaluating extended patio construction proposals for four downtown businesses for the season, including proposals for built patios at Pitt Street East, Pelissier Street at University Avenue, Chatham Street East at Ouellette Avenue and Ouellette Avenue and Wyandotte Street.
“This is a game changer for us,” says Renaldo Agostino, owner of Element Entertainment at Ouellette Ave and University Ave. “We pivoted as best we could during the spring, but after months of limbo, we’re looking forward to seeing our customers again.”
All downtown establishments are prepared to follow the safety measures as outlined by the province and the municipality, while also getting back to business. The DWBIA is committed to helping businesses get back on their feet, by advocating for these accommodations from the city, as well as with our recovery and reopen kits.