Beethoven’s Pizza at Cultus Lake announced on Facebook they would be reopening for business on May 20, 2020. Beethoven’s is not in Chilliwack city limits where council is set to waive permits to expand patios. (Facebook)

UPDATE: Chilliwack city council makes it easier for restaurants to expand patios

Outdoor eating area expansions will have to be eliminated 30 days after state of emergency lifted

As some Chilliwack restaurants open their doors for the first time in a long time last week, city council is trying to make it easier for them to expand patios and other outdoor seating areas.

The provincial government set May 19 as the next phase in the gradual reopening of the economy, which included allowing restaurants, cafes and pubs to open as long as physical distancing measures were in place.

• READ MORE: B.C. businesses grapple with new health protocols as reopening begins Tuesday

At the 3 p.m. regular meeting on May 19, city council agreed to waive application requirements to allow eating establishments to temporarily expand patio area temporarily.

“I think this is a great idea to kick-start that industry,” Mayor Ken Popove said, speaking in favour of the staff recommendation. “They need all the help they can get.”

“Any operator wishing to expand seating/outdoor patio space will be advised temporary expansion may be permitted but must be removed within 30 days following the end of the provincial state of emergency due to COVID-19,” according to a city staff report.

Any permanent construction or improvements will still require building and development permits.

Under normal circumstances, requests to expand patios or outside eating areas are facilitated with building permits and/or development permits.

• READ MORE: All your local, regional and national COVID-19 coverage in one place

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