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Downtown Sudbury, city helping businesses set up patios for less and faster

Rebate program and streamlined application process back on the table
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The sidewalk patio structure for the Townehouse Tavern went up Tuesday after the province announced patios can reopen Friday as part of the loosening of pandemic restrictions in this part of the province. (Heidi Ulrichsen/Sudbury.com)

 

More patios in the downtown are popping up as patio season is now underway and a new incentive program is helping cover costs, said the Downtown Sudbury BIA.

Stage 1 of the provincial reopening plan allows outdoor dining with up to four people per table starting Friday, June 11. Downtown Sudbury offers a cash-back rebate program of up to 75 per cent of their members’ total costs to a maximum of $7,500 for construction, heating, lighting or furniture expenses. 

“With a little bit of investment from both the Downtown Sudbury BIA and, of course, our participating members, we will see upwards of 15 patios in the core including several brand new ones and many that have opted to expand their outdoor square footage,” says Kyle Marcus, managing director of Downtown Sudbury. 

Having spent the vast majority of the last few months apart, Downtown Sudbury BIA and its service industry members believe this will give everyone a safe way to get back out there, engage their friends in much-needed social interaction while supporting Downtown’s network of small, locally owned venues and establishments, said a press release.

Meanwhile, the City of Greater Sudbury is again offering local restaurants a streamlined application process for rapid approval of new or expanded outdoor dining patios. A review team of municipal and external agencies, including Public Health Sudbury & Districts, will provide rapid response to applicants for restaurant patios.

“We’re very pleased with the provincial announcement that will allow our local business owners to begin to recoup the losses they’ve experienced throughout the pandemic,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger in a news release. “Improving processes to encourage economic growth and development is a strategic goal of the city and of our partners. Creation of a one-stop shop for patio permits is an example of how we are enabling local businesses to hit the ground running as restrictions are lifted.”

Downtown Sudbury is working directly with its members to prepare and submit applications that maximize business investment. The BIA meets regularly with city staff to co-ordinate services for local business owners.

“We’re working closely with our members to take advantage of this opportunity,” said Rob Jones, co-chair of the Downtown Sudbury board of directors. “Patios have a positive domino effect. People sitting around a table gain an appreciation and awareness not only of the restaurant, but of all businesses in the area.”

Businesses outside of the downtown are encouraged to submit applications and obtain information online at GreaterSudbury.ca/Patios to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety and permit requirements. 

Restaurants with existing built-in patios under licence with the City and the Liquor Licence Act can open without additional approvals.

To assist with economic recovery, the city has waived the $1.50-per-square-metre monthly permit fee associated with the setup of outdoor dining spaces on public properties.

All businesses must follow Public Health requirements for employees and clients to operate a COVID-safe establishment, including physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection protocols.

The City of Greater Sudbury offers assistance to all businesses through its dedicated Business Support Hotline at 705-690-9937. A comprehensive listing of business resources for economic support and recovery is available at GreaterSudbury.ca/COVID.