The pandemic has put a premium on patio space, and several Vernon establishments are looking to add extra outdoor seating as the weather warms.
Saverio Loria, owner of Status Nightclub, says he’s been pursuing adding an outdoor patio to his 29th Avenue club since before the pandemic. He currently has an application with the city to construct a fully licensed patio attached to the club, which would fit 19 people. With a public notice in the newspaper, all he needs is a final stamp of approval from the city and the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.
“I still want to give Vernon the best night life possible and the best of me. I believe that this is something that is very positive for the business and for people,” he told the Morning Star.
Loria says having a patio would be an added safety measure for patrons, who would no longer have to leave their drink unattended when stepping outside for a smoke. The patio would be fitted with security cameras, lighting and a gate hooked up to the fire alarm system.
“You’re walking into a secure environment that you can bring your drink into that’s supervised by you,” he said.
Loria also hopes a patio will help him earn extra revenue and recoup the roughly $200,000 he lost due to pandemic-related closures.
Loria is hoping to build the patio by late April or early May.
Two other Vernon hot spots — Kal Sports Bar and Marten Brewing Co. — have issued public notices of their applications for temporary outdoor patios, hoping to have them in place April or May to September this year. Written comments on these applications can be submitted to the city until April 21, 2022.
The B.C. government is making it easier for restaurants and bars to continue using temporary patio spaces.
On Thursday the B.C. government announced it will extend the deadline for restaurants, bars and liquor manufacturers to apply to make their temporary service areas like patios permanent as they recover from the pandemic. Before the April 7 announcement, the province’s emergency approval for these spaces was set to expire on June 1.
The province’s temporary expanded service areas (TESA) program was extended to March 31, 2023.
“(The extension) is great news for the many B.C. restaurants and bars that have innovated and adapted over the past two years,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “After the pandemic downturn, this decision will take one worry off businesses’ plates. As they plan for the future, they can continue to welcome their customers in expanded service areas and benefit from the resulting revenue.”