Vernon Council Enables Businesses to Temporarily Use Outdoor Space

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Press release from the City of Vernon on May 28, 2020:

In recognition of current provincial COVID-19 guidelines for physical distancing, Council has approved temporary measures for businesses to expand commercial uses into adjacent public space and private parking lots. By allowing businesses to easily expand, they will be able to increase working space, seating, and product display, and adhere to physical distancing constraints. Council has also provided a blanket pre-approval to support businesses that would like to apply to the Province to serve alcohol in these outdoor spaces.

“Enabling businesses to quickly and easily use adjacent outdoor space will support them in meeting requirements for physical distancing measures,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “Council is eager to do what we can for the local business community, and we urge residents to continue buying local during these difficult times.”

Starting on June 1, 2020, businesses located within the two downtown Business Improvement Areas will be able to expand commercial uses (such as restaurant seating, retail space and queuing staging areas) outdoors into on-street parking spaces until September 30, 2020 and into sidewalks until December 31, 2020. Businesses will be required to enter into a Use Agreement with the City and follow a set of guidelines but will not need to get a permit or pay a fee.

Also starting June 1, 2020, businesses throughout the city that have adjacent private parking lots will be allowed to expand their commercial uses in up to 50% of their required parking spaces until September 30, 2020. Businesses that want to expand into their private parking lots will be required to enter into a Use Agreement with the City and follow a set of guidelines, but will not need to get a permit or pay a fee. 

To further increase physical distancing opportunities downtown, staff will also be reviewing, in consultation with downtown businesses via the Downtown Vernon Association, the potential to close some or all blocks of 30th Avenue, between 29thStreet and 35th Street, to through traffic. Staff will report back to Council with recommendations in June 2020.