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City council has approved a proposal that will see a large portion of Bernard Avenue remain closed to vehicular traffic from June 29 to Sept 8.
Restaurants will also be allowed to expand patios onto the sidewalk and parking spaces, making room for more customers while honouring the 50% capacity restriction imposed by the province.
Establishments on the south side of Bernard Avenue will be allowed to expand patios 7.5 metres onto the roadway, while businesses on the northside will have 2.6 metres of expanded patio space.
Pedestrians will have three-meter wide corridors to travel east and west on Bernard Avenue.
Bicycles are still allowed to travel along the avenue, however, councillors said they will be keeping an eye on how bikes interact with the foot traffic.
Businesses serving liquor will be required to fence off their service areas, with staff providing direction on fencing designs to maintain aesthetic standards.
While the expanded patio program is largely focused on food and beverage providers, retail stores will be encouraged to have open air displays on the sidewalk as well.
Staff is also recommending a 50% reduction of patio fees for businesses as well as reducing the application fee to $100 from $300 due to the economic hardship many of the businesses have endured during the pandemic.
The closure of Bernard Avenue will also result in the loss of 113 on-street parking stalls.
According to a report to council, of the 106 businesses between Abbott Street and St. Paul Street, 30 of the 41 food and beverage establishments are currently enrolled in the patio program.
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