Burnaby urged to 'quickly' approve new patios to 'save' businesses

The Burnaby Business Recovery Task Force is encouraging the City of Burnaby to continue its work on permitting and licensing changes to allow restaurants to quickly set up patios throughout the city.

It’s also being asked to look to allow for more creative business uses of public areas such as laneways, sidewalks and green spaces. 

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With today’s announcement of new liquor licence regulations from the provincial government, the Burnaby Board of Trade thinks Burnaby can now be a leader in supporting the restaurant sector with expanded and flexible patio policy.

“We know the city is exploring changing the rules around setting up patios, and we want to encourage and support them in that effort as it will be key to saving our restaurant sector,” said Paul Holden, chair of the Burnaby Business Recovery Task Force.

As restaurants have been restricted to 50% capacity by an order of the provincial health officer, allowing for more patios to be set-up will help them to recoup some of that lost seating and increase their potential for sales. 

Beyond helping the restaurants themselves, more patio space will enable residents and visitors to Burnaby to enjoy the city’s food offerings more safely by providing greater physical distancing, and more enjoyably by creating more outdoor dining in the warmer summer months.

In addition to restaurants,the Burnaby Business Recovery Task Force is investigating what other businesses may benefit from expanded access to public spaces such as sidewalks, laneways, roads, or parks. With many businesses, especially in retail settings, required to limit customers to maintain physical distancing, having access to public space for business activities or for the queuing of customers may be vital to their success during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Potential solutions could include a local gym being able to have more participants in a class if they can hold it outdoors or in public plazas, or a retail shop having more space for customers and inventory if it is allowed to hold a sidewalk sale. The Burnaby Business Recovery Task Force is currently conducting a survey on the types of businesses which could be helped by using public spaces, and what that potential use could look like.

“It will be important to strike a balance between maintaining access to these spaces for the public, while also being creative and flexible to provide the support for our businesses and entrepreneurs to cope with the current reality,” added Holden. “But we’re pleased the city is working on this, and the business community and the Burnaby Board of Trade is committed to continuing to work with them on making this a reality.”

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