By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter
Outdoor dining patio season will be back a little earlier this year to help restaurants through the pandemic.
As Oshawa is currently in the red zone under the province’s COVID-19 response framework, restaurants are only allowed 10 patrons inside, which Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter says has been causing grief for a lot of businesses.
“Restaurants need approximately 70 per cent occupancy rate to be able to operate in a way that is able to pay the bills,” he says. “That’s very difficult to do when you are only allowed to have 10 people inside the restaurant.”
Carter says extending the outdoor patio season gives businesses an opportunity, once the weather breaks around the first of April, which he says will hopefully help them through these difficult times that they’ve been facing for over a year.
He says any culinary business that had the opportunity to put up patios last year found a way, working with their landlords and the city to make it possible.
“Under the circumstances, during a historical moment, I thought the culinary community did a tremendous job meeting the needs of the consumer.”
Carter says the culinary industry plays an important role in the community as the economy continues to move forward.
This year, the outdoor dining patio season will begin April 1 instead of May 1. It will also be extended beyond October 31, 2021 in the event that provincial restrictions are still in place following the normal cessation of the patio season.
“We’ve got to do everything we possibly can to be able to assist businesses to get back on their feet again,” he says. “Unfortunately, it looks like a third wave is coming and we’ve got to find a way of being able to not only deal with the health concerns and the health priorities, but also find a way of being able to make sure that our economy, one way or another, is able to recover.”