OTTAWA -- Closing time for restaurant and bar patios in Ottawa could be 2 a.m. this summer.

City of Ottawa staff are recommending a uniform closing time for all patios in the city in an effort to help small businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Right now, some patios have to close at 11 p.m., while others are permitted to stay open for an additional three hours.

The different rules are the result of a 2017 bylaw that mandated patios within 30 metres of a residential or mixed residential/commercial zone must close at 11 p.m.

A report prepared for the city's transportation committee says that with indoor dining rules in flux, extending patio hours across the city is a way to give restaurateurs some measure of consistency this summer.

"This extended closing time will provide staff with the opportunity to continue to work closely with our colleagues in By-law Services, BIAs and local businesses to determine a recommended approach for the future, but most importantly provide local businesses with certainty for the 2021 patio season," the report says.

All patios will still be subject to the city's noise bylaw and consistent violations could lead to the patio being required to close earlier or even close entirely. 

In 2020, the city waived patio fees to help provide some financial relief to restaurants and bars that were closed to indoor dining. That will continue in 2021.

The transportation committee meets March 3. Items approved at committee will then go to full city council.