The City of Port Alberni will be allowing some businesses to expand their operations onto sidewalks in order to meet physical distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a meeting on Monday, June 8, city council adopted a set of guidelines that will allow business owners to expand their operating space onto sidewalk areas and other city-owned properties through a Temporary Sidewalk Use permit and a Licence of Occupation.
Any approved temporary expansions will remain valid until Oct. 31, 2020, but the city is prepared to extend licences past this date if necessary, said city clerk Twyla Slonski on Monday.
The temporary sidewalk use is available for both retail and food/beverage operations, but businesses must meet a number of guidelines (available to view at www.portalberni.ca/business-resources).
“The primary hurdle for businesses during this phased re-opening is the space required to meet the physical distancing requirements,” explained Shawn Bourgoin, manager of recreation services, in a press release. “To be economically viable, some businesses need to expand their operations to the outdoors. These new guidelines allow for that by granting temporary access to city-owned sidewalks and/or streets.”
Businesses like All Mex’d Up at Harbour Quay have recently expanded their operations onto the sidewalk area, allowing for more patrons to be accommodated while still observing the physical distancing requirements.
“I think it’s a positive for the businesses that really need to have use of the sidewalks for their business,” said Councillor Cindy Solda during Monday’s council meeting.
Business owners who are interested in expanding their operations can reach out to Bourgoin at 250-720-2519 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.