With warmer weather in the forecast, Port Colborne restaurants can open their patios as early as April 1, 2021, as per the Outdoor Patio and Display Exemptions.

As approved by City Council last year, temporary initiatives were implemented to help local restaurants create additional seating capacity outside to adhere to provincial regulations.

“As we saw this past weekend, sunshine is headed our way and patio season will soon be here,” said Mayor Bill Steele. “We know the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on local establishments and we’re committed to working with them to offer alternative solutions, including allowing patios to open earlier.”

For the 2021 patio season, the following will be implemented:

  • Temporary patios and/or outdoor displays permitted on private property that comply with zoning and city guidelines
  • COVID patio permit fees waived for businesses for the 2021 calendar year related to patio installation and/or outdoor displays
  • Existing approved outdoor patios and outdoor displays on private property are permitted to continue without the need for additional approval from the City, unless there is a proposal to enlarge and/or create a new patio
  • Existing approved outdoor patios are permitted to start as early as April 1, 2021
  • New outdoor patios that will be erected on City property will need to apply online 
  • Prior to erecting any patios on City property, businesses must provide a current insurance certificate naming the City as an additional insured. If the business is located on West Street, please also add The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

“As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are reminded to continue to take necessary precautions to limit the spread of the virus,” said Mayor Steele. “Niagara is still under a Section 22 order, and I ask residents continue to support local, but of course follow Public Health’s direction.” 

The following provincial requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 and its regulations apply to outdoor dining at restaurants and bars:

  • If an outdoor dining area at the establishment is covered by a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other element, at least two full sides of the entire outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.
  • If the outdoor dining area at the establishment is equipped with a retractable roof and the roof is retracted, at least one full side of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.

Capacity limits for outdoor dining are based on physical distancing requirements. Capacity is limited by the ability to keep two meters apart from others within the outdoor dining space.

For more information regarding patios on public sidewalks or parking spaces and outdoor displays, visit our website.