As COVID-19 persists longer than anyone initially thought likely, some downtown eateries are preparing to keep their patios open even as snowflakes are starting to fly.
This past week, City Hall sent emails to all restaurants with patios, advising that an earlier planned closing date of Oct. 15 had been extended further to Oct. 31.
"From the city's point of view, it simply has to do with snow removal," says Don McConnell, the city's director of planning and enterprise services.But some downtown establishments, including Krista Nolan at Mane Street Cafe and Lounge, are hoping to stay open into November and McConnell says City Hall will try to accommodate that.
"We do understand some of the patio operators would like to stay open later," McConnell told a meeting of the Downtown Association's board of directors on Wednesday night.
"Public works is going to send one of their senior guys who's an engineer.... down to talk to Krista about what we can do to help in that situation," McConnell said.
"There may be one or two others who are interested in staying open for a longer period of time."
"It is a challenge. We need to make sure that those are well away from where we're piling snow as part of our operations. But that's something we're willing to work with the individual operators on to see if there's anything that can be done to help."
McConnell said four or five patio operators have already folded up their outdoor operations for the year.
"We have several that are still open. If people want to try and stay on beyond the end of the month, we'd be happy to meet with them to see what could be done."