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City simplifying application procedure for seasonal patios

Early next year, the City of Prince George will be releasing a new, formalized and streamlined process through which cafe, restaurant, and bar owners can apply to the city to establish seasonal patios outside their establishments. Businesses that currently have seasonal patios installed on city streets and sidewalks are required to take them down by October 31 to help ensure that streets and sidewalks are prepared for winter conditions and free of obstructions for snow clearing.

“The city’s quick response to the Public Health Orders temporarily disallowing indoor dining and allowing seasonal patios helped infuse a new sense of activity and vibrancy in the downtown and around the city,” said Melissa Barcellos, Manager of Economic Development, in a news release. “In order to encourage the continued use of seasonal street and sidewalk patios, which were so well received by both residents and businesses, the city is refining this procedure to ensure interested businesses are ready for the start of patio season in 2022. We will be consulting with the businesses that established seasonal patios and aim to make the application as easy and affordable as possible.”

In an effort to help local food and beverage-oriented businesses as they transitioned to outdoor services due to COVID-19 public health orders, early in the spring the City of Prince George waived all fees associated with temporary permitting requirements for the use of outdoor patios. In addition, the city fast-tracked the approval process to allow businesses to have their patios up set up as soon as possible.

Recently, city council voted to permit the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) to allow “liquor primary” establishments to have temporarily expanded service areas until June 1, 2022 to enable physical distancing between patrons.

The City of Prince George encourages businesses that are operating under Temporary Expanded Service Area regulations to apply for permanent changes to their liquor licenses if they wish to operate their seasonal patio past June 1, 2022. A change to an existing liquor license is initiated through an application to the LCRB; however, the city’s development services staff are able to provide guidance on the steps involved should applicants have questions.

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