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“This is the only hope of keeping everyone employed and implementing COVID-19 restrictions,” she told Postmedia Wednesday afternoon. “You can’t just tell people, ‘Put on your warm jackets, we’ll put up some lights and you go enjoy the winter.’ You cannot do that. You’ve got to create an experience and this is an experience I’m trying to create.”
Isaac said she is hoping the city reverses its decision or helps find another way that the igloos can be used on the sidewalk without blocking pedestrian access.
City spokesman Anthony Toderian said the challenges of snow removal and increased slipping hazards make winter patios more complex and the city is evaluating each proposal from businesses on a case-by-case basis.
“Pedestrian and public safety is always our top priority and so when we work with a business owner on their proposed patio plan, we want to ensure it is safe. This means that we will work with some businesses to adjust their patio proposals,” Toderian said in an email to Postmedia Wednesday. “For this winter season, we will not be redirecting pedestrians into the curb lane, as we did for the summer months, because of the safety risk of going up and down the curb ramps. We are eager to work with businesses to find a winter patio solution that works for them.”
There are three options for businesses to choose from over the winter, Toderian said. Businesses who will be removing their patios during the winter are asked to do so by Nov. 6. Those hoping to offer outdoor access on warm-weather days must sign a new application and also maintain two metres of pedestrian space on sidewalks. The third option allows businesses to set up a semi-permanent patio in consultation with the city.