Patios on Belmont Village in Kitchener. (July 12, 2020)

The City of Kitchener has waived municipal patio fees to help businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council also voted to continue offering free surface parking in downtown Kitchener lots after 5 p.m. and weekends. Free parking will remain in effect until at least June 30, with the possibility of extending to the end of the pandemic if needed.

The city also said it will make sure all patio approval applications are reviewed before the weather warms up.

Fees for portable signs are waived until at least June 30 as well, with the possibility of extension.

Licensing fees are deferred until the end of June.

“This past year of the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for many of the small family-owned businesses upon which our community has been built,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic in a news release. “The City’s actions today show that we are committed to augment the federal and provincial supports by doing all we can to get our local businesses back on track to build back better in 2021.”

Councillors also voted in favour of ensuring local businesses are aware of all federal and provincial pandemic supports.

Tenants at city-run facilities like the Kitchener Market can access federal and provincial grants, including rent relief subsidies, city officials said.