The weather may be cold and snowy now, but the City of Ottawa is already looking ahead to patio season.

Ottawa's transportation committee has approved another summer of on-street patios in the city.

A report prepared for the committee calls on councillors to approve allowing the closure of segments of any City of Ottawa road as a temporary measure, to waive the associated fees through to Jan. 1, 2023 and to allow all right of way patio permits issued in 2022 to be subject to a closure of 2 a.m.

Adding patios to the street would require a written request from the local BIA or, where no BIA exists, agreement from two-thirds of business owners on the block where the patio is proposed.

The measure would also allow a business seeking a café seating patio permit to request an unlimited amount of café seating permits (to expand beyond the four table, eight seat cap) where space permits.

Similar measures were in place in 2020 and 2021 to help spur economic activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The extension of the Patio Innovation Program will allow for continued flexibility given uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022. There is a continual need for innovative and supportive solutions to keep Ottawa businesses and neighbourhoods vibrant through 2022," the report states.

On Tuesday, Ontario lifted its proof of vaccination requirements for restaurants and other venues. Premier Doug Ford also hinted on Monday that the province is close to eliminating its mask mandate as well. COVID-19 levels have been historically low in the summer, with minimal case counts and hospitalizations recorded in Ottawa in both 2020 and 2021.

Also similar to last year, Ottawa Bylaw will hire a summer student to aid in proactive enforcement of the patio program.

The program must still be approved by full city council. 

Transportation committee will also be voting on the 2022 e-scooter pilot program and the design of the Brian Coburn/Cumberland Transitway Extension through the Greenbelt.