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'Where are we supposed to open?': Confusion over expanded patio rules in ByWard Market
OTTAWA -- The ByWard Market BIA and City of Ottawa staff made their rounds Friday to clarify some confusion surrounding patio rules this summer.
Businesses in the popular tourist area were told they could open patios, as long as they applied for a permit and were given approval from the City of Ottawa.
Chateau Lafayette is thrilled to expand their patio onto York Street.
“We are obviously very excited to be able to open,” said Jill Scot, owner and operator of the pub.
They found out they could extend their patio last week, but others are just getting the memo.
“Where are we supposed to open?” said Kelly Brant, co-owner of the Lookout Bar.
Mayor Jim Watson announced on Wednesday several roads in the ByWard Market will close starting July 4, allowing businesses to expand patios and pedestrians to practice physical distancing.
But there was some confusion about the rules as some bars and restaurants began setting up expanded patios this week.
“Anybody who has a previous patio or they have opportunities to expand but still maintain our pedestrian clearway. As long as they have all their information in, we’re allowing them to operate,” said Laureen Dinardo, Ottawa coordinator of the Public Realm and Urban Design Group.
“I think those who have never had a patio before, they don’t have a lot of experience in how that program works, [they] were probably the most confused,” said Jasna Jennings, director of the ByWard Market BIA.
Friday’s conversations over the patio rules in the ByWard Market went something like this:
“What are the rules? What are the things we have to commit to? How do we do this safely?” said Andrew Craig, Fiazza’s Director of Operations.
Starting Monday until October, the city will close ByWard Market Square from York Street to Clarence Street.
This will mean restaurants on that stretch can expand the patio onto the road.
Around the corner, the Lookout Bar - located on the second floor - is desperate for more space, beyond a sidewalk.
However, they won’t get it until after Canada Day.
On July 4th, the City will close several other streets in the market, including Clarence and York.
“Let’s face it. People are going to be down here. They’re going to want to party. They’re just going to go to other spots in the city and the ByWard Market is hurting right now,” Brant said.
On Murray Street, “business open as usual” signs have been put up.
However, with construction lasting for at least another week businesses say not quite.
“Business as usual will be when things are the way they used to be and I’m not sure when that’s coming,” said Mantovani owner Jim Paul.
Patio’s must be accessible and cannot block sidewalks.
There is a trade off. More patio space means less parking.
A city-run app is being built to provide detouring routes for drivers.