Bar and Restaurant Owners Gearing Up for Early Patio Season

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Local bar and restaurant owners are applauding city council's decision to once again waive patio fees and extend the patio season for 2021.

The program started last May when the city gave the green light to make it easier and cheaper to open a patio during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Renaldo Agostino owns Turbo Espresso Bar on Ouellette Ave in downtown Windsor.

He says small businesses need all the help they can get right now.

"It's just another great thing that our city council and our BIA has put together to support downtown merchants during these times," he says.  "Last year I was such an advocate for outdoor patios and outdoor excitement and I can't wait to do it all over again this year."

Agostino says last year's patios helped keep many bars and restaurants afloat.

"It was a huge success last year for everyone involved," says Agostino.  "It was done safely, it was done wisely and we can't wait to do it again. We're so excited, the sun is shining. We're so excited for spring to come, for summer to come and to get back out on the patio."

He's hoping the program continues beyond the pandemic.

"The big story is the support that the city is giving local businesses by just allowing this," he adds.  "If you told me two years ago that I'd be able to have people standing outside without getting all these special permits and special licenses, now, because of the city and because of the BIA, it's a thing not just for me, but it's a thing for everybody."

The fee wavier will save businesses as much as $3,000 depending on the size of the patio. 

The extended patio season will run from April 1 to November 15.

— with files from AM800's Rob Hindi