Newmarket announces outdoor patio program to support the restaurant sector during COVID-19
Today, the government of Ontario announced that York Region, along with the other communities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, will be permitted to move to phase two of the province’s reopening framework, including the reopening of outdoor patios, on June 19. The Town of Newmarket will continue to be guided first and foremost by the health and safety of patrons, staff and the community, while working closely with the BIA, the Chamber of Commerce and local restaurants and retailers to move forward with an updated outdoor patio program.
“We are excited to be able to partner with the Chamber of Commerce and the downtown BIA to quickly roll out a flexible patio program that will be both safe and successful. We will continue with our cautious approach as we reopen our community, while recognizing the uphill battle our local business community is facing. We are committed to continuing to work with our local businesses every step of the way,” says Mayor John Taylor. “We are thinking outside the box and providing as much flexibility as possible to accommodate for the expansion and addition of outdoor patios for our restaurants, bars and cafes, while maintaining physical distancing.”
All businesses interested in an outdoor patio or display should contact the Town of Newmarket through the Business Assistance Concierge at newmarket.ca/bac. The Town will work directly with each business to try to accommodate their requests, while always ensuring appropriate physical distancing and health and safety measure are in place. This could include patios on sidewalks and in laneways where is it safe to do so. Under the provincial plan, patios in Newmarket could reopen as early as Friday, June 19.
Here are a few steps the town is taking to help restaurants respond and adapt to challenges created by COVID-19:
The Province of Ontario has amended the Liquor Licence Act to make it easier for licensed bars and restaurants to temporarily add a patio or expand existing patios to accommodate physical distancing. These establishments must meet the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) criteria and have municipal approval.
- Patio licensing fees will be waived for 2020
- The Town's current patio program guidelines and regulations have been updated to include more flexibility around hours of operation, encroachment on town lands and any other considerations necessary to accommodate temporary outdoor patios
- Infrastructure, set up and tear down of pedestrian zones on Town property adjacent to interested businesses will be funded by the Town for the 2020 season.
The Town will continue to work very closely with the local business community to help find solutions to manage the impact of COVID-19. All local business owners are encouraged to contact the Town of Newmarket's Business Assistance Concierge where the team can provide one-on-one support to help navigate these unchartered waters, including connecting businesses with experienced mentors as part of the Town's Mentorship Access Program.
For more information on how the Town is supporting the local business community, visit newmarket.ca/covid19business