Raise a toast to extended patio hours.
Barrie city council unanimously passed a motion on Monday night that applies to extended patio hours located on municipal property until Nov. 30, 2021, of which most are downtown.
The hours a person will be permitted to remain in the outdoor area are extended from 11:15 p.m. to 12:15 a.m., Monday to Wednesday, and 11:15 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The hours a person can enter or re-enter an outdoor area are extended from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Monday to Wednesday, and from 10:30 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
On the Sunday of long weekends – Labour Day and Thanksgiving – patrons will be able to remain in the outdoor area from 11:15 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., and the hours a person can enter or re-enter an outdoor area are extended from 10:30 p.m. to 1:45 a.m.
Coun. Mike McCann was the one who pushed to add the later hours on Thursdays and add the Sunday of the long weekends.
Coun. Keenan Aylwin, who represents the downtown, and Coun. Anne-Marie Kungl raised concerns about adding more patio time on Thursdays when there are people living downtown who have to work on Friday and may not appreciate extra noise.
“There’s no amplified music past 11:15 (p.m.),” said Coun. Mike McCann. “How is anybody going to be complaining about these businesses staying open and let’s be honest… the restaurant industry has done enough. The province has shut them down, the country has shut them down. Waitresses, bartenders, bar owners, have been out of work.
“Tens of thousands of dollars that may not be made per business… and how many people are expecting to work on a Thursday night that are relying on that money who are waitresses and bartenders or they’re bouncers. They work in that industry, and we’re saying no because we want to minimize the risk so much that it’s going to strangle the financial capabilities of these people.
“Let’s give the bar owners and the restaurants a chance to succeed,” added McCann.
The motion passed by council on Monday also states that all other regulations and bylaws, including no amplified sound on the patios after 11 p.m., would continue to apply with the operation of the patios. Non-compliance with municipal regulations and bylaws could result in permits being revoked or further conditions being added to the permits.
As Aylwin pointed out, the push to add more patio time was launched by a local downtown restaurant owner who garnered support from other businesses in the core.
“Many of our small local businesses have had a rough year. This is one small way we can support them,” he said.
During Step One and Step Two of Ontario’s COVID-19 re-opening plan, city council approved extended patio hours, but that was clawed back when Step Three took effect and indoor dining returned.
Coun. Sergio Morales said there will come a time when a decision will have to be made if extended patio hours become the new normal.
“To those business owners, we have your back, but at the same time once things normalize — and we’re talking six, 12, 18 months into the future — we’re going to have to have a more wholesome discussion about what the permanent bylaw should be,” he said.