Last call on ByWard Market patios now 1 a.m., starting Friday
A busy ByWard Market on Saturday, July 11.
OTTAWA -- Last call on patios at bars and restaurants in the ByWard Market will now be 1 a.m., starting this weekend.
Council approved a motion from Councillors Tim Tierney and Jenna Sudds to require most patios to close one hour earlier during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patios that usually close at 11 p.m. are now allowed to continue serving until 1 a.m. under the plan.
Under the plan, restaurants and bars will still be allowed to stay open for indoor dining until 2 a.m.
Councillor Mathieu Fleury initially introduced a motion to require patios in the popular tourist and entertainment district to close at 12 a.m. following a number of issues last weekend. Fleury removed his motion when Tierney and Sudds introduced their motion to change the hours.
Fleury voted against the motion to change last call on the patios to 1 a.m.
Fleury told CTV Morning Live Wednesday morning that Ottawa Bylaw issued 16 notices to 16 bar and restaurant operators last weekend for violating the measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The violations included establishments not respecting closing time, not following physical distancing guidelines and loud music.
Fleury said his proposed 12 a.m. closing time would harmonize the closing time for all bars and restaurants in the market, noting 20 establishments are supposed to close at 11 p.m. while the other 36 can close at 2 a.m.
Fleury said he introduced the bylaw at the request of city staff following a rowdy weekend in the ByWard Market.
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development General Manager Steve Willis told Council there were two goals for the proposed earlier closing time: Staff would like to "make a fair set of common rules" for all establishments with the same closing time and to "promote social distancing and safe operations while businesses reopen and operate" during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Willis added the 12 a.m. closing time would be consistent with the closing time with bars and restaurants in Gatineau. He added the earlier closing time would prevent people from flooding bars and restaurants in the City of Ottawa after closing time in Quebec.
Staff said the different closing times for bars and restaurants have been an "ongoing issue" in the ByWard Market.
Manager of Right of Way, Heritage and Urban Design Services Court Curry told Council that city staff, Emergency and Protective Services and Ottawa Public Health determined this week that a 12 a.m. closing time would be "appropriate", and asked Councillor Fleury to introduce a motion to change the closing time.
Last week, the Quebec Government announced all bars must stop serving at 12 a.m. as part of a series of moves to prevent potential COVID-19 outbreaks.
Tierney told Council a 1 a.m. closing time for patios is a good compromise to "afford our businesses to operate and keep their heads above water" as the COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.
The motion from Tierney and Sudds also gives city staff the authority to revoke the patio permit for any bar or restaurant that violates the rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting Friday, patios in the area bordered by St. Patrick Street, King Edward Avenue, Rideau Street and Sussex Avenue will be required to close at 1 a.m. The new closing time for patios will be in place until Oct. 31.