Mississauga considering temporary zoning bylaw to allow restaurants to expand their patios

 

With restaurants outside of the GTA, Hamilton and Niagara regions now being permitted to open their patios, restaurants within denser regions of Ontario (such as Mississauga) will no doubt be moving into stage 2 soon—and it looks like the city is getting ready. 

Last week, Mississauga council passed a resolution to schedule a virtual public meeting to address the potential use of a temporary zoning bylaw to allow restaurants to expand or create patios on public and private property. With indoor dining still not permitted anywhere in Ontario, restaurants will benefit from being able to seat more people outside to allow for proper physical distancing.

The meeting date is expected to be announced shortly.

At a June 10 press conference, Crombie said she believes Mississauga could enter stage 2 of the province's reopening plan as early as June 19.

As of now, certain regions and cities—including Toronto, Peel, Halton, Durham, Haldimand-Norfolk, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara, Windsor-Essex, and York—are not permitted to enter stage 2 and cannot allow local restaurants to open their patios for dine-in service until new cases of COVID-19 decrease.

Most new cases are being in discovered in Toronto, Peel and York.  

"I'm glad to report that cases in Mississauga are stabilizing. While community spread is still happening in Peel, we have isolated the majority of the new cases to households and workplace clusters," Crombie said during the press conference. 

"If things go well and we are able to keep our numbers down, then it's possible that Mississauga might be given the green light by the province to enter phase 2 as early as Friday, June 19." 

When asked by insauga.com whether restaurants will be able to create patios regardless of rules set forth by landlords or property managers, Crombie said that while there are some legislative requirements that the city must meet, it's hoping to get restaurants up and running as quickly as possible. 

"There are some legislative requirements that we need to meet. Time is tight and we want to get some of these restaurants open and operating so we'll do what we can and hopefully all of the landlords will be cooperative,” Crombie told reporters. 

Council's move to study the implementation of a temporary zoning bylaw follows a request by the Mississauga Board of Trade (MBOT) for the city to create its own version of Toronto's CafeTO program. The CafeTO program, if approved, will work to provide more outdoor dining areas to help restaurants and bars create physical distancing for guests on patios during the summer months.

"Effectively, the City of Toronto is creating a proactive team now to ensure that when reopenings are permitted by the provincial government that these businesses are ready to go," David Wojcik, President & CEO of MBOT, wrote in a letter to council. 

"MBOT requests that the City of Mississauga immediately commence a similar program so our local businesses can move ahead with reopenings right away." 

The need for restaurants to be able to open quickly is pronounced.

A recently-released survey from Restaurants Canada found that many restaurants are currently operating at a deficit, meaning the revenue they’re bringing in is less than their operating costs.

After months of reduced revenue—or none at all in some cases—and months at operating at reduced capacity, many restaurants need continued support to avoid closing permanently.

According to the findings, 60 per cent of restaurateurs said they are operating at a deficit.

Additionally, 22 per cent of single-unit restaurateurs and 15 per cent of multi-unit restaurateurs said they are just breaking even.

Restaurants in the GTA have been prohibited from offering in-house dining since mid-March in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.

With files from Matt Dionne

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