In another effort to help out the business community during the difficult economic times created by COVID-19, City Council, at their meeting on Monday, April 27, unanimously agreed to eliminate sidewalk cafe fees for the 2020 season. All application fees, licence renewal fees and rental fees for any cafe or restaurant will be waived.
“When restaurants are open again, there is no question that the physical distancing is going to cut capacity in those restaurants by at least half, and therefore sales by at least half,” Mayor Don McCormick said during the virtual Council meeting.
“And the patios, for those that have them, are certainly going to be a capacity increase,” he continued. “They’re going to become more important for those restaurants than what the patios have been in the past. Not saying that they haven’t been important, because they are a magnet, particularly on nice days, but this becomes a real economic driver for the restaurants.”
McCormick made clear that this does not mean any expansions; so there are no concerns from the Fire Chief with regards to increased space usage or fire hazards.
All restaurant and cafe owners still need to meet all necessary guidelines and submit their applications to City Hall as usual, but no fees will be collected for the 2020 summer season.
Proper social distancing on the patios will still need to be maintained.
“Though we are unsure when restaurants will be able to open their doors again, we look forward to helping ease the transition when it is safe to do so,” McCormick said.