Staff at The Lakes Restaurant – located inside the Howard Johnson by Wyndham on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich – are waiting for permission from the province to open the new outdoor tables on the pool deck. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich restaurant patio expansions move forward despite B.C. lifting capacity limits

Need for more seating is ‘based on social distancing, not on capacity,’ mayor says

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said while it’s “fantastic” to see capacity lifted, the District will continue to assist restaurants with patio expansions to accommodate more patrons safely.

On June 11, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a new order that removes the 50 per cent capacity restriction for restaurants. Instead, the capacity of each restaurant is determined individually based on physical distancing requirements.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Restaurants no longer limited to 50% capacity for dine-in guests

Guests will still need to keep at least two metres apart and if more outdoor space is available for tables, “why not use it?” Haynes asked.

On May 22, the province announced that the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation branch would be streamlining the application process for restaurants, pubs and breweries looking to expand their liquor licenses to account for larger patios until the end of October.

READ ALSO: Pool deck turns patio as Saanich restaurant cooks up creative outdoor seating options

At the end of May, Saanich wrote to the BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch to opt-in to the province’s expedited patio permitting process.

Saanich council also directed staff to determine what steps the District needs to take to make it possible for restaurants to expand their patios. Haynes said the administrative action may include issuing permits to allow tables on roadways and reducing the municipality’s parking space ratios temporarily.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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