WINDSOR, ONT. -- Parklets, curbside cafes and patios with no railings are some of the changes Windsor patio goers might notice this summer.

City of Windsor officials say they are committed to supporting local bars and restaurants in their recovery from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as the hospitality sector prepares for a very different 2020 patio season.

“This will be a long recovery for businesses, so we wanted to make sure that everything that city council, along with the mayor was doing, was supporting those efforts,” says Rino Bortolin, Ward 3 Councillor.

With bars and restaurants now able to re-open in Stage 2 of reopening, city council has passed the following measures:

  • Waiver of the railing requirement for sidewalk cafes for the balance of 2020, consistent with updated guidelines from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario;
  • Moving forward with a Parklet and Curbside Cafe Pilot Project, in partnership with the Walkerville BIA; and
  • Partnering with all City of Windsor BIA’s to enable temporary road closures, sidewalk cafes and extended patios to support social distancing and encourage “buy local” efforts.Patio rendering

“I want to thank Councillor Chris Holt and the leadership of the Walkerville BIA for stepping forward with this initiative,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. “Our Curbside Pilot will create more space for area bars and restaurants to host patrons and support the local economic recovery in Windsor.”

Walkerville Business Improvement Association chair Lisa Milec says everybody has worked really hard to come together the past couple weeks

“That will allow us to increase the ability for people to come and enjoy the wonderful area of Walkerville,” says Milec.

Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island CEO Gordon Orr says it’s good news for the tourism industry.

“This is hope for a struggling tourism and hospitality industry where there have been many losses and sacrifices,” says Orr.

Downtown business owners agree.

“If you were to ask me a year ago, ‘hey Renaldo, you can put a table over here and over there, bring somebody a drink,’ I’d say you were crazy. There’s no way!”says business owner Renaldo Agostino.

Giovanni Cassano,who owns says she is making preparaations.

“Once I get my patio ready, I’ll be happy to serve people,” says Cassano.

The city previously announced various measures to support local small businesses during the pandemic:

  • Deferral of property tax payments until June 30;
  • Waiving all fees associated with sidewalk cafes for the remainder of 2020;
  • Enabling WindsorEats proposed outdoor food hall in Lanspeary Park;
  • Providing over 10,000 litres of complimentary hand sanitizer product to local small businesses and community organizations; and
  • Supporting our regional recovery through the WindsorEssex COVID-19 Economic Taskforce.

City officials are reminding all establishments and patrons they will need to adhere to strict public health guidelines.