Expect More Patios and Open Air Markets this Summer says Mayor Dilkens

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Some areas of Windsor are going to look a lot different this summer with more patios and open air markets.

Windsor City Council has approved new measures to make it easier and cheaper for small businesses to have a patio.

It is waiving all fees for sidewalk permits for the year and it is asking business improvement associations to submit proposals for temporary road closures to allow for restaurants to set up more tables outside. 

The move is aimed at helping restaurants, bars and cafes, which are still required to be closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will apply to other businesses as well.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens says this is about helping restaurants and bars stay afloat but also protecting taxpayers.

Dilkens expects business that didn't have a patio in the past, will do so this year.

"Those that are used to it will take advantage of it and you may see others that think this is a good opportunity, let's put an application in so there will be no fees to have the patio but they still have to go through the regular application process," he says.

Dilkens expects BIAs will look different this summer.

"You may see more open air markets, patios spreading out onto roads in certain BIAs at certain times and there are other stores, like clothing stores and other types of stores that want to move their product out onto the street to facilitate a street sale or sidewalk sale while allowing people to socially distance properly," he says.

Despite the relaxed rules, Dilkens says there will still be rules to abide by.

"At the heart of this too is protecting all of the taxpayers in the city from risk," he says. "These business owners, it is not a free-for-all where they can do whatever they want, they have to provide proper insurance and go through the normal application process."

It is up to the province to decide when restaurants, bars and cafes can reopen, instead of just doing takeout and delivery.

City council also approved waiving fees for the rental of Lanspeary Park to allow for a pilot project for an outdoor food hall, based on the recent proposal to city council from WindsorEats.