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City pre-approves use of outdoor spaces for local restaurants

Campbell River is making it easier for local restaurants to expand into outdoor spaces.

The city says it’s a move that will help them safely provide sit-down service for customers as part of their reopening plan.

“Many food and beverage businesses were hard hit by closures that were required by provincial guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19,” says economic development officer Rose Klukas. “Between the limits on how many people they can serve, spacing requirements for tables and how much room they have indoors, starting up sit-down service again could present a number of challenges and result in continued lost revenue.”

Klukas says council’s decision to pre-approve expanding into outdoor areas will help speed up the changes businesses are making to open their doors and offer full service again.

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City pre-approval came within days of the province announcing the option for businesses to expand outdoors.

“We recognize that many restaurants made quick changes to offer take-out service as a way to keep their business operating in line with provincial public health restrictions,” says Mayor Andy Adams. “Expanding into outdoor spaces can help them run closer to full occupancy. By acting proactively to waive the city’s requirement to comment on applications to the province, we’re sending the message that we support our local businesses and want to see them fully up and running as soon as possible.”

The city says pre-approval provides municipal endorsement on provincial liquor licence applications only.

Permission from the city is still needed if businesses wish to use public space such as sidewalks.

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All other requirements such as building code and fire safety regulations continue to apply.

“Several parklets and sidewalk seating areas already exist where there is adequate space, and we’ve been working with a number of local businesses interested in expanding to develop more of this type of outdoor seating,” Adams adds. “We look forward to working with local business owners to help them explore options for how this could work for them.”

Any local restaurant wishing to temporarily expand outdoors is asked to contact the Campbell River’s Development Services Department by email at [email protected] or by phone at (250) 286-5725.

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