Lets hope its an early spring, because Hamilton’s beleaguered restaurant and bar industry are going to have to rely on patio service for the foreseeable future to stay afloat. Friday’s announcement that Hamilton was heading back into lockdown came only a few weeks after the hospitality operators were being allowed to reopen with very limited indoor service.
To provide some relief to local restaurants, cafes and bars in advance of Hamilton shifting to Grey-Lockdown category of the Provincial COVID-19 Response Framework, the City of Hamilton accelerated the start of the Outdoor Dining District program effective immediately.
Patios can open immediately
As of Friday’s announcement, the City had approved 81 patios with an effective date of April 1. Late Friday, the City re-issued all approvals to allow an immediate effective date. Hamilton’s popular Outdoor Dining District Program allows eligible local businesses to add or expand seasonal patios and outdoor seating areas on municipal or private property (if current zoning is compliant). The program will run until October 31, 2021 aligning with all guidelines and restrictions under the Provincial COVID-19 Response Framework.
While indoor dining will be prohibited when Hamilton shifts to the Grey – Lockdown category on Monday, outdoor dining, take out, drive through, and delivery is permitted, including alcohol. Capacity for outdoor dining is based on ability to allow for 2m of physical distancing from others within the outdoor dining space.
As part of the City of Hamilton’s ongoing commitment to supporting economic recovery due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, in May 2020, Hamilton City Council unanimously approved the creation of the Outdoor Dining Districts program. The City has waived all applicable City fees for restaurants, cafes and bars establishing an outdoor patio.
In 2020 the Outdoor Dining Program helped 174 restaurants, cafes and bars (163 patios approved) in Hamilton add patio space or expand existing patios on municipal and private property to ensure physical distancing and accommodate more patrons. The City is working on an ongoing basis to receive and process applications from eligible businesses. So put on a coat or jacket and support these businesses.
Learn more about City of Hamilton’s Outdoor Dining District program.