WINDSOR, ONT. -- It will be a “very different 2020 patio season” according to City of Windsor officials as they launch a plan to help small businesses, restaurants and the hospitality sector.

Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens says he knows that the hospitality sector has been particularly hard hit by the COVID pandemic.

“The steps we have taken today provide multiple new avenues for bars and restaurants to re-orient their operations and take advantage of our public spaces, all while maintaining appropriate social distancing,” says Dilkens. “While the province has yet to permit the opening of bars and restaurants for in-person dining, these actions help provide clarity to local operators as they prepare for that future stage of re-opening.”

In preparation for future staged re-openings, Windsor city council has passed the following measures to help reduce the burden on Windsor area bars and restaurants:

  • Fees for sidewalk cafe permits and outdoor cafes located on public rights of way be waived for the remainder of 2020, allowing bars and restaurants to create accessible open spaces where patrons can be appropriately socially distanced. Based on the average patio size, it is estimated that local operators will each see about $1,000 in savings due to these measures.
  • That fees for the rental of Lanspeary Park be waived to allow for a pilot project for an outdoor food hall, broadly consistent with the recent proposal to City Council from WindsorEats subject to the satisfaction of City administration;
  • That Business Improvement Areas within Windsor will be requested to submit plans for any temporary closure of roads and/or sidewalks to facilitate proper physical distancing while encouraging patrons to support local businesses within a BIA. City administration is also directed to respond on a priority basis to these BIA plans and waive any fees associated with the closing of the public right of way granted to BIA’s through this initiative.

Sanitizer Distribution

Due to local product being made available by Hiram Walker & Sons, as well as BASF, the City of Windsor will be able to make a quantity of hand sanitizer available to support small businesses, set to re-open in this week.

For the past several months, the City of Windsor has been coordinating the distribution of locally produced hand sanitizer to regional hospitals; first responders; long term care and retirement homes; shelters and essential workers.

While supplies last and to assist local small businesses in their re-start efforts, the City of Windsor will provide free hand sanitizer to local entrepreneurs through a no-contact drive-thru at the WFCU Centre on Friday, May 22 from 9am to 2pm. Drivers are asked to enter through the intersection of McHugh Street and Mickey Renaud Way and then follow the signage to the depot tents.

Product on offer is produced to World Health Organization standards and will be made available in 375-millilitre bottles and 1-litre bottles supplied by Highbury Canco in Leamington, up to a maximum of 8 litres per business.

Depending on turnout, the city has enough product available to distribute to at least 500 businesses this week.