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City to allow temporary outdoor dining

The City of Cold Lake says it will allow temporary outdoor dining areas in an effort to ease the stress placed on restaurants by the COVID-19 restrictions.

On April 6, the Government of Alberta announced a move back to its Step 1 restrictions. The move restricts indoor dining effective April 10 but allows outdoor dining to continue.

“We know many businesses weathered the restrictions, and then were told they could open up, albeit under a limited capacity,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “These businesses have called staff back to work as restrictions eased, placed orders for thousands of dollars’ worth of inventory, and continue to pour their heart, soul, and savings into their livelihood. These measures will allow these businesses to quickly establish outdoor dining areas to maximize the number of customers that they can serve under the current restrictions.”

The City says in order to establish a temporary outdoor dining area, a business must submit a site plan detailing the site dimensions, any material that will be used, and clearly marked exit routes. The site must be on private property and must not include building any permanent structures.

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The temporary sites will be valid for as long as the provincial ban on indoor dining remains in place, and must be removed within five days of the Government of Alberta lifting the restriction on indoor dining.

The permits will come at no cost to the business.

The City says it is also examining opportunities for the temporary use of public property to accommodate outdoor dining where a business’s ability to do so on private property is unavailable or limited. Expanding the program to public property comes with additional hurdles that must be cleared, such as possible land-use issues, and insurance requirements. Should opportunities for the use of public land arise, the City says it will be communicated to the business community.

The temporary outdoor dining areas must comply with all COVID-19 restrictions, and the capacity will be reviewed by the City of Cold Lake’s Cold Lake Fire-Rescue.

“My thanks go out to City staff who were so quickly able to establish this program,” Copeland said. “The City has and will continue to follow all federal and provincial directives relating to COVID-19, just as we have and will continue to work with our business community to mitigate the impact that restrictions will have on their operations where we can. Our business owners have invested in our community and help to provide our residents with jobs, as well as products and services that provide a high quality of life. It is important to follow the restrictions put in place and it is equally important to ensure that a functioning economy can survive this pandemic. Businesses and the jobs they create are ultimately the greatest source of our quality of life and the tax dollars that fund the public services we rely upon as a country. Our hearts go out to all of those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are resolved to come out of this as vibrant and resilient a community as when these circumstances fell upon us.”

For information on the program, businesses are being encouraged to contact the Planning department or by calling City Hall.

From a City of Cold Lake Press Release

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