The City of Kitchener has extended its patio program to support local bar and restaurant operators to at least January 1, 2021.

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership

Should the Province permit temporary patios beyond January 1, the City will also permit the continuation of patios. The now extended patio program allows bar and restaurant operators the opportunity to offer food services on temporary outdoor patios city-wide and expanded sidewalks patios downtown Kitchener.  Since the launch of the patio program over 60 local operators have extended or added temporary outdoor patios to their establishments.

Toronto’s outdoor dining guidelines

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | Re-opening | physical distancing

The CaféTO program aims to provide more outdoor dining areas to help some restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios during the summer months. A CaféTO Placement Guidebook has been created to better understand program requirements and other details necessary. Link provides details on requirements for curb lane patios, patios on private property, use of portable heaters & tents/enclosures.

Winter city design: 3 ways to save our small businesses this COVID-19 winter

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership

There’s a lot to consider when designing for winter, but the philosophy is basic: Create places where people want to be, give them a way to get there, and create ‘sticky’ events—events that draw attendees in and give them reasons to stick around—to help people discover new places.

The City of Chicago’s 2020 Winter Dining Challenge: the 60 Innovative Designs

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership

A jury evaluated the submissions based on feasibility, accessibility, health considerations, material and installation costs, inclusivity, climate comfort, sustainability, and flexibility. A key design principle is making sure the finalists are not only scalable for large and small establishments, but also cost effective for businesses already struggling from the impact of the pandemic. Running a restaurant in the time of COVID requires creativity and consistency to keep everyone healthy. Still, a willingness to pivot and try new off-premise options will help operators execute these restaurant innovations for COVID and stay afloat.

City of Chicago’s Fall & Winter COVID-19 Outdoor Dining Guidance

Local businesses | Main Street | Policy leadership | physical distancing

The City of Chicago has prepared a one page guidance document for restaurants and bars to continue operating outdoors safely and responsibly.

A restaurant in St. Jacobs, ON is using domes on their outdoor patio to keep patrons warm and physically distanced for colder weather

Local businesses | Main Street | physical distancing

Patrons are confined within a social bubble inside of the dome. Each dome can hold up to eight people and no mixing of social bubbles are allowed.

City of Ottawa extending patio season to December 31

Local businesses | Main Street | Street activation

The city is coming up with a plan for winter that will see snowbanks removed quicker than usual in high-traffic curbside pickup areas, such as Wellington West, Montreal Road, Elgin Street, St. Joseph Boulevard and Bank Street.

Ideas for cities to prepare for COVID winter

Main Street | Parks and public space | Policy leadership

Among the lessons we take from COVID-19 should be the importance of preventing disconnection and improving health outcomes in our cities through more thoughtful investment in our civic commons. We are more aware than ever of the importance of spending time outside for both physical and mental well-being. Beyond providing better access to warm clothing and adequate housing in the winter, this post describes ways that we can make winter more liveable by making our outdoor spaces more inviting, so that we can create community and vibrancy post-pandemic and year-round.

Ville d’Hiver is a tool for decision-makers, professionals and citizens who wish to contribute to better adapting communities to the winter reality through the development of public spaces, universal accessibility and street furniture.

Local businesses | Main Street | Street activation

Active design in a winter context aims to take into account the characteristics and constraints imposed by the cold season on the experience lived in public spaces. The objective is to develop local living environments that promote the practice of physical activity, break through isolation and reveal the identity and inclusive nature of winter.

The guide is available in French for download free of charge.


Winterlab is a Quebec-based initiative to create winter city conditions

General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street | Mobility and transportation | Parks and public space | Public health | Re-opening | Street activation

This winter will be special and the solution to isolation will be through the design of a multitude of small places that we will want to frequent despite the cold. From now on, let’s buy good boots and a suitable coat in our local shops, because let’s hope that the next winter can be one of the places where we can create human warmth.

The City of Chicago is seeking solutions to stimulate and encourage safe outdoor dining, for both customers and restaurant/bar staff, during cold weather months

General: Crowdsourced tools and resources | General: Sector resources | Local businesses | Main Street | Re-opening | Recovery
  • Solutions must be centered around facilitating in-person outdoor dining experiences, rather than delivery or take out
  • Solutions may relate to physical space as well as operations/service
  • Winning solutions are eligible to receive a $5,000 cash prize.  A total of three winners will be chosen.
  • Selected ideas are eligible to access potential piloting opportunities that will be funded by corporate sponsors. Building on the success of the outdoor dining program, the City of Chicago will be piloting this in many areas, including those in the INVEST South/West program for prototyping.

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