OTTAWA -- Restaurants and bars will receive a break from the City of Ottawa to set up a patio during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council voted 21 to 0 to approve a motion from Mayor Jim Watson to waive patio fees for restaurants and bars this summer, and waive the daily rate for tourist kiosks and right-of-way restaurant patios. 

Staff have also been asked to report back to the Transportation Committee on June 3 with a plan providing options to expand patios on public and private property.

Watson said the patio could expand into an establishment's parking lot or onto private property. Expanding patio spaces would allow restaurants and bars to accommodate more customers, while encouraging physical distancing. 

Ottawa’s bars and restaurants must currerntly be closed for dine-in service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on CTV Morning Live Wednesday morning, Watson said the waiving of the patio fees will help one of the “hardest hit” sectors of the economy during the pandemic.

“If we can save restaurateurs a few dollars by allowing them to open up their patios without the fees that helps their bottom line and allows them to bring more staff back to work.”