The Patios Everywhere Program is back, and local restaurant and bar owners are eager for this season.
Even though it’s not summer temperatures quite yet, several Barrie residents took advantage of the early start to patio season this past weekend.
This year, Barrie city council approved an extended patio season to help businesses recover from the pandemic.
“They were never able to go out in April and could never go out in November. The program pretty much started in May and wrapped up around Thanksgiving,” said Stacey Zubczyk, Downtown Barrie BIA project manager.
“Now, they got an extra month to do whatever they want to attract people.”
Courtyard hours have also been extended. From Sunday through Thursday, patios can be open until 12:15 am and until 2:30 am on Fridays and Saturdays. That’s an hour later than allowed before.
“It’s not just important for their existing patrons, but they find they’re able to attract new people that may not have necessarily known who they were. It’s like a billboard,” Zubczyk said.
Local businesses are thrilled with the early start. To make their patios cozier, they’ve added heaters, blankets and extra lightning.
“It definitely brings in a lot more people, I would say. Especially, after a long winter, everybody wants to enjoy the warmer weather we’ve been getting here, so it’s nice to have the option to sit outside,” said Alex Hackett . Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery assistant taproom manager.
Staff at Queen’s Hotel said they’ve had to hire extra workers to support the opening of their three patios.
“We have our dividers gone. We’re excited about having everybody back, not limiting it to a certain amount. It will bring back those too scared to come out,” said Klara Vanek, Queen’s Hotel supervisor.
While the Queens Hotel and Flying Monkey Craft Brewery are the only patios now open in the city, as the weather turns, the BIA said many more would begin opening over the coming days.