City council clearing way for expanded patio service

Local pubs and bars will continue to be able to apply to expand their patio areas without any red tape from the City of Prince George.

On Monday, city council extended the pre-approval for patio area expansions until Oct. 31, 2021. Under the extension, businesses applying to the B.C. Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Brach to expand their outside serving area during the COVID-19 pandemic will not need to have their application approved by city council before being considered by the provincial regulator.

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"I could see this be a benefit to areas outside northern B.C.," Coun. Brian Skakun said. "Our businesses here will face an extra burden because of COVID. There are businesses that are closing their doors that may never open again."

The provincial government launched the initiative earlier this year, as way to help businesses struggling with the limited seating restrictions in place during the pandemic.

"I think it's great we're extending it," Coun. Kyle Sampson said. "We're just cutting red tape on our end."

Coun. Susan Scott said it is good to see the province and city helping businesses find creative solutions to stay open during the pandemic.

"I don't necessarily want to be sitting on a patio in December, but I'd be up for it," she said.

Mayor Lyn Hall said he hopes to see more local businesses take advantage of the initiative once the weather warms up in the spring.

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