Add more hours of outdoor patio drinking and dining time at Barrie’s bars and restaurants.
At a special meeting Thursday night, city council approved a direct motion to extend the hours, as of Friday.
The hours that a person can enter or re-enter an outdoor area are extended from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and from 10:30 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and July 1, Canada Day.
The hours that a person is permitted to remain in the outdoor area are extended from 11:15 p.m. to 12:15 a.m., Monday to Thursday, and from 11:15 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and July 1, Canada Day.
These new hours will apply until indoor dining is permitted again according to Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening framework.
“It (this schedule) very much comes a lot closer to the guidelines that are provided under the Liquor Licence Act,” said Coun. Gary Harvey, “so that way it places all of the patios throughout the city on a level playing field when it comes to the time frames. Because this bylaw solely deals with those temporary patios that encroach onto city property (on parking spaces).
“We have to do everything in our power, quite honestly, to ensure that this first weekend of the opening here in the city provides all of our businesses the opportunity for success,” he said.
“These are not normal times and I think right now we should default on the side of doing everything possible to support the restaurants and the establishments,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “The province is implementing noise regulations, so…you can’t have any amplified music and you can’t have singing and dancing.”
Only Couns. Keenan Aylwin, who represents the downtown, Natalie Harris and Clare Riepma spoke against extending the outdoor patio hours this far.
“There are some really good reasons why we have limited the hours, particularly in the downtown, and particularly on the city’s property,” Riepma said. “The reason is there are people living there in the second and third floors of those buildings.
“I’m 100 per cent in favour of people having a good time, the problem is that other people also need to sleep and have some quiet time,” he said.
“Noise is obviously an issue that I think a lot of residents have,” Harris said. “I get the heart behind this amendment, for sure, I just think there’s still lots of shift workers out there.”
But when the direct motion had been amended and debated, it was supported.
“We need to let business know in the downtown, and across our city, the City of Barrie has their backs and this is one small little gesture we can do that can actually let business know that we’re here with them, we’re in this together and we’ll do anything in our power to help them survive,” said Coun. Mike McCann.
The province has said that restaurant patios can go back to the regular hours of liquor service Friday, hours set out in the Liquor Licence Act regulations.
Ontario’s shutdown regulation changes - announced Monday - don’t place capacity restrictions on outdoor patios, but restaurants are required to ensure that people at different tables are at least two metres apart, or there is an impermeable barrier like plexiglass, and there’s a maximum of four people at a table - more if everyone is from the same household plus one person who lives alone, or a caregiver.
This will limit how many people could be on the patio to comply with the distancing and seating requirements. Patios are still subject to municipal licensing requirements.
Open Air Dunlop will also return this weekend, one week earlier than planned. Every Saturday during the summer, Dunlop Street will be closed to traffic between The Five Points and Mulcaster Street, from 5 a.m. until midnight.