The City of Duncan will allow businesses to use their outdoor spaces to deal with social distancing concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

The City of Duncan will allow businesses to use their outdoor spaces to deal with social distancing concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Duncan gives green light for businesses to use outdoor spaces

Tempoary initiative meant to help deal with social distancing issues

The City of Duncan is extending a helping hand to members of its business community as they adapt to the new realities of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city has decided to allow Duncan’s restaurants and coffee shops to temporarily use their on-site parking areas for patios, without permit or penalty, for their business use in order to meet the current social-distancing requirements, so long as all other current provincial and municipal requirements are followed.

At its meeting on June 1, council also directed staff to expedite the review of the use of on-site parking areas, sidewalks, streets and public property by all city businesses who apply to use them on a temporary basis for council to consider on a case-by-case basis.


As well, council decided to waive all fees for the use of sidewalks, streets, on-street parking or public property by restaurants, bars and pubs, and any retail establishment in the city, until Oct. 31.

Peter de Verteuil, Duncan’s CAO, told council that, under the province’s Restart Plan, for a restaurant or café in the city to operate, it must follow the WorksafeBC protocols and the provincial health order issued on May 15.

He said that under the new regulations, restaurants and cafés must not exceed 50 per cent of their usual capacity of patrons at one time, tables are restricted to parties of six people, and two metres of space is required between patrons sitting at different tables.

De Verteuil said that, in addition, employers are required to retain contact information for one member of every party of patrons for 30 days in the event there is a need for contact tracing on the part of the medical health officer.


“There is an opportunity for local governments to assist cafés and restaurants during phase two of the Restart Plan by providing patio space on sidewalks, public rights-of-way, or other public property to help space out the number of indoor diners and allow customers to eat outdoors,” he said.

“Similarly, some retail stores might benefit from an expansion into the public realm to assist in meeting the distancing requirements. For those establishments with liquor licences, the Liquor Control and Regulation Branch has announced a directive that permits food primary, liquor primary, and manufacturing licensees to temporarily expand their service area footprint until Oct. 31, 2020.”


De Verteuil said that for these expansions, the LCRB will not seek local government approval for food primary establishments.

But he said licensees are still responsible to follow all local bylaws and obtain any necessary permits.

“The LCRB simply won’t be seeking confirmation or approval from the local governments,” de Verteuil said.

“However, the city will receive notice when an expansion is approved.”

Coun. Carol Newington said she is concerned about people with limited ability getting around on sidewalks that are being used by businesses.

De Verteuil said that’s one of the reasons why there will be no blanket approval of the applications the city is expected to receive.

“Each application will be considered on a block-by-block, or a one-by-one, process,” he said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A picture of Bug before the attack by the dogs on Nov. 17, 2020. (Submitted photo)
Three dogs almost kill cat in Miller Road area near Duncan

Efforts to catch the canines unsuccessful so far

Beautiful morning with the sun peaking through, as viewed from Thetis Island. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)
November characterized by a record high, no snow and plenty of rain in Chemainus region

Temperature almost hits the 20 degree Celsius mark on Nov. 4

Group wants to start a pilot program for regenerative farms in North Cowichan. (File photo)
Group looks to North Cowichan for farmland

Land could also be used for affordable housing

The CVRD will reconsider its policies on fireworks after receiving complaints. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Regional District considers options for fireworks after receiving complaints

Distict only allows fireworks on Halloween and New Year’s Eve, with a permit

Ben Maartman, left, and Murray McNab are running for regional director for Area H North Oyster-Diamond in a Cowichan Valley Regional District byelection later this month. (Photos submitted)
Preliminary Area H byelection results show Maartman up by seven votes, McNab to ask for recount

Results of the by-election to by finalized by noon on Tuesday, December 1

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Most Read