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Patio season about to get bigger as B.C. allows temporary expansion

(iStock Photo)

Larger patios a possibility at restaurants and pubs this summer

The province is speeding up the application process for restaurants to expand outdoor eating areas

It's a temporary measure to help an industry ravaged by the economic impacts of the virus

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — There’s some relief for the restaurant industry now that the province is allowing restaurants and pubs to expand patio spaces temporarily.

It’s an effort to allow more establishments to provide extended outdoor eating space — an approach believed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as it allows for more physical distancing.

Also, the province is clear the temporary change is meant to allow more patrons at an establishment.

An online application to the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation branch can be filled out for free to expand seating areas until Oct. 31.

There won’t be a preliminary inspection, although the province will follow up to make sure nobody is abusing the new rules.

Attorney General David Eby says speeding up the process will help the industry while giving people the option to safely dine out this summer.

“This pandemic has hit our hospitality sector hard. Our government has been working with industry on ways to support the more than 180,000 British Columbians who work in pubs, restaurants and other parts of the sector,” he says in a release.

The move has also been welcomed by the president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association.

“This pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for all of us, and it has been invaluable for government and industry to work together as they have, as we take these important steps toward recovery,” says Ian Tostenson.

Last week, city council also voted to allow breweries and restaurants in Vancouver to expand patio space. It was somewhat of a historic move since breweries weren’t allowed to have patios before.