Richmond restaurants could have permanent outdoor patios starting June.
And those that currently have temporary patios will be able to continue until this new program is in place.
Richmond city councillors supported the extension of the temporary patio permits, approved to allow more social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as allowing permanent patios to start this summer.
There have been 67 temporary outdoor patio permits issued in the City of Richmond to date, six of which are on public property.
Businesses that are part of the expedited temporary outdoor patio program will have their temporary patio permits extended to June 2023.
The proposed ongoing patio program, if approved, will allow restaurants the option of applying for a permit with the city's ongoing patio program or a seasonal patio permit, which would be in place from April 1 to Oct. 31 each year.
The temporary patio permit extension to 2023 will allow a grace period for businesses with patios to continue operating uninterrupted.
Allowing restaurants to shift existing seating outdoors onto patios, however, doesn’t mean restaurants can increase the maximum number of patrons.
Increasing restaurant capacity calls for additional health and safety requirements, such as, more washrooms or kitchen facilities.
Meanwhile, the city is working on extending liquor licences for businesses on the temporary outdoor patio program until June 1, 2023.
City staff suggested city council to write to the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch to help speed up the request.
After June, a one-time new liquor license permit and new floor plan submission will be required for businesses to serve alcohol on patios on the permanent program.
These changes were approved at Monday’s general purposes committee and will come back for a final vote at a council meeting.