The City of Charlottetown is trying to help create a bit more room for businesses in the downtown core.
Council gave first reading to the COVID-19 temporary patio program bylaw at a special meeting in late June and passed second and final reading at a special meeting of council last week.
That bylaw will allow any establishments that serve food and beverages to set up chairs and tables outside and occupy parking spaces in an effort to create more physical distancing.
There are a few existing outdoor decks that feature more permanent-type structures, including features such as railings. Those businesses are charged $600 for every parking spot that is lost to a patio.
However, in an effort to help these establishments put a bit of money in the bank as public health restrictions are lifted, the city is deferring payment until the fall.
Businesses are also being allowed to create makeshift areas outside with tables and chairs in an effort to create more space for physical distancing. Those businesses will be allowed to cordon off the areas with rope and posts. And, because these are more temporary-type setups, the city will cut the rental fee to $300 per parking spot lost.
The temporary bylaw will be in effect until Oct. 31.
Mayor Philip Brown estimates up to 24 parking spaces could be made available for these temporary outdoor patios.
“We want to provide more space to encourage physical distancing,’’ Brown said.
There are no issues with outdoor decks in Summerside.
Rob Philpott, the city's chief administrative officer, says none of the outdoor decks they have take up parking spaces and there is no bylaw requiring the municipality to charge a rental fee if there were.