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On December 8, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced new mandatory public health measures for businesses to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Effective December 13, 2020, all restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes must close to in-person service. This includes all temporary outdoor patios and sidewalk cafes. Take out, curbside pickup and delivery services are allowed.

Outdoor retail expansions may continue provided they follow the Province’s requirement to reduce customer capacity to 15% of fire code occupancy.

Effective November 6, 2020, All temporary patio and retail extensions must comply with the Winter Patio Options. 

The City of Edmonton is committed to helping businesses. We are pleased to be able to offer a modified Temporary Patio Program during the winter months until March 31, 2021. If you plan on operating your patio this winter, please contact us to discuss your options as part of this temporary program at businessinfo@edmonton.ca.

Further information is found below.

Your Snow and Ice Obligation

All patio owners are expected to keep the area clear of snow and debris at all times.

Winter Patios

Winter Patio Options

Path A

You choose not to operate your patio in the winter. Effective November 6, all patios must be taken down. 

Path B

You choose to set out tables and chairs on nice weather days, and are able to maintain 2m of pedestrian space on the sidewalk. We will ask you to sign a second declaration, allowing you to extend your patio to March 31, 2021. Current guidelines will apply. 

Path C

You want to set up structures that are not included in the guidelines (such as, a large tent, or wind protection) or you are unable to maintain 2m of pedestrian space on the sidewalk. Please note, the City will not be permitting the redirection of pedestrians into the curb lane. If you choose this option, you will need to consider placing your patio into the curb lane, with traffic control materials.

We will be evaluating proposed winter patios on a case-by-case basis. Additional requirements may be required, such as permits and a licence of occupation. 

Winter Patio Restrictions

During the summer, we were able to set up temporary traffic measures which directed pedestrians onto the curb lane in front of the business. For this winter season, we will not be redirecting pedestrians into the curb lane because of the safety risk of going up and down the curb ramps. Redirecting pedestrians onto the roadway has accessibility concerns for people with reduced mobility and using mobility aids. Additionally, we need to ensure that sightlines are maintained for traffic safety, especially when a business is at an intersection.

When evaluating patio proposals, we take a number of factors into consideration, including:

  • The sightlines for traffic; as in, can a motorist reasonably see around the corner at an intersection
  • Maintaining a clear path of pedestrian travel of 2.0m
  • Ability to achieve a minimum 1.5m clearance from fire department connections and hydrants
  • Proposals for cooking or food preparation on temporary patios

Public Safety and Accessibility are Our Priorities

The City is committed to working with business owners to find safe and accessible options and alternatives for their winter patios. Public safety is our mutual priority. 

Patios and Outdoor Retail spaces on Private Property

Changes to Zoning Bylaw 12800 were approved by City Council and came into effect on January 1, 2021 that make permanent the land use elements of the temporary guidelines for patios and retail spaces operating on private property. This means that businesses will be able to operate patios and outdoor retail spaces on private property without the requirement of a development permit, provided the patio or outdoor retail space complies with the criteria found in Section 12.2 of the Zoning Bylaw.

Patio on Private Property - Do I need a Permit?

A development permit is not required and no further authorization is needed for the operation of a patio on private property if the following criteria are met:

  • The business must be operating under an existing valid Development Permit for Bars and Neighbourhood Pubs, Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries, Restaurants or a Specialty Food Services Use. 
  • The new or expanded patio space must comply with the requirements of the underlying Zone and Overlay.
  • No part of a patio shall encroach into any Site Setbacks defined by the zone in which the patio is located, except in those parts of the Site Setback with lawn, Hardsurfaced materials, or decorative Hardsurfacing ground cover. Existing trees and shrubs may not be removed.
  • On-site parking may be used for patio space, except the required number of designated barrier free Vehicle Parking, which must remain available for parking use.
  • Permanent fences and barriers, planters, platform structures such as decks or stages shall comply with the zone and shall not exceed 1.2m in height. All decks, regardless of height, require a Building Permit. Stages greater than 1.2m in height require a Building Permit.
  • Subject to the approval of the applicable City Department, no part of the patio, including exit gates, shall open or encroach into road right-of-way.
  • No audio-visual equipment may be installed at a height exceeding 2.1m (7ft) above grade, measured to the middle of the device, and shall not be attached to a building. Televisions, speakers, and video displays must be oriented facing away from vehicle traffic and shall not be arranged consecutively to create a wall or visual obstruction.

Outdoor Retail Space on Private Property - Do I need a Permit?

A development permit is not required and no further authorization is needed for the operation of an outdoor retail space on private property if the following criteria is met:

  • The business must be operating under an existing valid Development Permit for Convenience Retail Stores, General Retail Stores or Market Use.
  • The new or expanded outdoor retail space shall comply with the requirements of the underlying Zone and Overlay.
  • No part of an outdoor retail space shall encroach into any Site Setbacks defined by the zone in which the outdoor retail space is located, except in those parts of the Site Setback with lawn, Hardsurfaced materials, or decorative Hardsurfacing ground cover. Existing trees and shrubs may not be removed.
  • On-site parking may be used for outdoor retail space, except the required number of designated barrier free Vehicle Parking, which must remain available for parking use.
  • Permanent fences and barriers, planters, platform structures such as decks or stages shall comply with the zone and shall not exceed 1.2m in height. All decks, regardless of height, require a Building Permit. Stages greater than 1.2m in height require a Building Permit.
  • The sale and on-site consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis is not permitted in an outdoor retail space.
  • Cooking or food and drink preparation is not permitted in an outdoor retail space.
  • Subject to the approval of the applicable City Department, no part of the outdoor retail space, including exit gates, shall open or encroach into road right-of-way.
  • No outdoor speakers or sound systems may be used.


Tents, Canopies, Shelters and other Structures on Private Property - Do I need a Permit?

Generally, a single structure located on private property not exceeding 10 sqm (107 sq ft) does not require a development permit or building permit, provided it:

  • Complies with the requirements of the underlying zone, including but not limited to height, setbacks from other buildings and property lines, and site coverage.
  • Is not attached to any building
  • Is not connected to electricity, plumbing or gas lines
  • Does not pose a safety hazard

If a proposed patio or outdoor retail space does not comply with these criteria, all required permits must be obtained before installing any structure or operating the space. Contact developmentservices@edmonton.ca for any questions related to operating a patio or outdoor retail space on private property, including proposed structures.

Heaters on Private Property - Do I need a permit?

All heaters must be ULC- or CSA-certified.  Solid-, gel- or liquid-fuel fire features are not permitted.

Outdoor patio heaters may be electric or propane (with max 20lb tank), located at least 3m (10ft) away from City tree branches, operated per the manufacturer’s directions and stored off the road right-of-way when not in use.

All heaters intended for use inside a tent or shelter require City approval and may require additional permit(s).

Noise

All patios and outdoor retail spaces that are located on private property must comply with Community Standards Bylaw 14600, specifically Sections 14, and 19-22.

Winter Guidelines for Temporary Patios Located on Public Property

General Requirements

  1. Temporary patios shall only be permitted for Bars and Neighbourhood Pubs; Breweries, Wineries and Distilleries; Restaurants; and Specialty Food Services Uses operating under an existing valid Development Permit.
  2. Temporary patios permitted under this guideline shall extend no later than March 31, 2021, however, the City may terminate these permissions upon 24 hours notice. Further, the City may terminate the permissions without notice in the event of an emergency and/or operational safety concern.
  3. The business owner is responsible for obtaining all relevant permissions, including but not limited to AGLC, AHS, and their landlord. The business owner must comply with all regulations and requirements from AGLC, AHS, and other relevant regulatory bodies.
  4. The business owner of a temporary patio shall mitigate any negative impacts on abutting or nearby residential development; including prioritizing the use of private land before utilizing public space.
  5. No outdoor audio-visual equipment (for example speakers, sound systems, television, visual displays, projectors or similar equipment) may be used on a temporary patio, unless a noise mitigation plan is approved by the City. Audio-visual equipment exceeding a height of 1.2m (4ft) above grade, measured from the top of the device, must be approved by the City relative to sight lines and shall not be attached to a building. Audio-visual equipment must be secured in such a manner that does not damage any public property and without endangering any underground utilities. Televisions, speakers, and video displays must be oriented facing away from vehicle traffic and shall not be arranged consecutively to create a wall or visual obstruction.
  6. The use of a temporary patio shall comply with the Community Standards Bylaw at all times.
  7. On-site parking may be used for temporary patio space, except the required number of designated Accessible Parking Stalls, which must remain available for parking use.
  8. Wheelchair access must be provided to, and throughout, the temporary patio. 
  9. Umbrellas must stand at least 2.1m (7ft) above the walking surface.
  10. Cooking or food and drink preparation is not permitted on temporary patios.
  11. A minimum 1.5m (5ft) clearance from fire department (siamese) connections and hydrants must be maintained on a temporary patio.
  12. A fire extinguisher (minimum 2A-10BC) must be available within 23m (75ft) of any part of the temporary patio.
  13. Temporary patios must not extend in front of adjacent tenant spaces, exits, or beyond business frontage without written permission from affected adjacent property owners and tenants; this includes any overhanging elements.
  14. Permanent fences and barriers, portable toilets, platforms, decks, or stages are not permitted. Optional temporary patio perimeter fencing, planters, or barriers 1.2m (4ft) high or less are permitted, provided they are not damaging any public property, and are secured without endangering any underground utilities.
  15. When a temporary patio with capacity for more than 60 people is enclosed by a temporary perimeter fence, it must have at least two separate exits. Only one exit is required where a temporary patio has a capacity of up to 60 people. Exit openings must be at least 0.9m (3ft) in clear width, and provided with exit signs where not clearly visible to patrons.
  16. Any exit gates must swing freely outward from the temporary patio during hours of operation.
  17. Any shelter/canopy/tent must be approved by the City for use on a temporary patio. When located in a temporary patio, a fire-retardant treated shelter/canopy/tent may not exceed 10sqm (107sqft) in area and must be secured without endangering underground utilities, or attaching to, drilling or damaging public property. Registrants are limited to 1 shelter, canopy or tent per patio. 
  18. ULC- or CSA-certified electric or propane patio heaters (with max 20lb tank) are permitted where located at least 3m (10ft) away from City tree branches, operated per the manufacturer’s directions and not stored on the road right-of-way when not in use. Solid-, gel- or liquid-fuel fire features are not permitted.  Any heater intended for use inside a tent or shelter is subject to City approval. 
  19. A clear path of pedestrian travel of minimum 2.0m (6’6”) must be maintained on the public sidewalk. A clear path of 2.3m (7’6”) is recommended.
  20. The side of the temporary patio adjacent to vehicle traffic shall maintain a minimum distance of 0.65m (2’2”) from the edge of any adjacent travel lane.  

Additional Requirements for Temporary Patios on Public Property

  1. All tents, canopies, shelters and other structures proposed on public property require City approval for use on a temporary patio.
  2. Temporary patios shall not be permitted in any portion of a parking lane or travel lane.
  3. Temporary patios shall not be placed within 5.0m (16’5”) from the corner of an intersection and 10.0m (32’9”) from the corner of an intersection that has a stop/yield sign or pedestrian crosswalk.
  4. Temporary patios should not encroach into existing loading zones, Accessible Parking Stalls, tow away zones, bus stops or bike lanes. Relocation or removal of the same may be possible and can be coordinated by contacting businessinfo@edmonton.ca.
  5. Temporary traffic controls are required where the temporary patio interferes with the movement of people, cyclists or vehicles.
  6. Business owners may provide their own temporary traffic control as outlined in the City of Edmonton Procedures for On-Street Construction and Safety. Alternatively, you can request temporary traffic control services from the City of Edmonton at businessinfo@edmonton.ca.  
  7. The business owner is responsible for maintaining any structures and equipment in a safe and clean condition and in good repair. This maintenance must include keeping the area free of any potential dangers; including power cords, debris, snow and ice.
  8. City power receptacles shall not be used for any temporary patio purposes.
Winter Guidelines for Temporary Outdoor Retail Space Located on Public Property

General Requirements

  1. Temporary outdoor retail space shall only be permitted for Convenience Retail Stores; General Retail Stores; Market; Pawn Stores; and Secondhand Stores Uses operating under an existing valid Development Permit.
  2. Temporary outdoor retail space permitted under this guideline shall extend no later than March 31, 2021, however, the City may terminate these permissions upon 24 hours notice. Further, the City may terminate the permissions without notice in the event of an emergency and/or operational safety concern.
  3. The business owner is responsible for obtaining all relevant permissions, including but not limited to AGLC, AHS, and their landlord. The business owner must comply with all regulations and requirements from AGLC, AHS, and other relevant regulatory bodies.
  4. The sale and on-site consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis is not permitted in a temporary outdoor retail space.
  5. The business owner of a temporary outdoor retail space shall mitigate any negative impacts on neighbouring or nearby residential development; including prioritizing the use of private land before utilizing public space.
  6. No outdoor audio-visual equipment (for example, speakers, sound systems, television, visual displays, projectors) may be used on a temporary outdoor retail space, unless a noise mitigation plan is approved by the City. Audio-visual equipment exceeding a height of 1.2m (4ft) above grade, measured from the top of the device, must be approved by the City relative to sightlines and shall not be attached to a building. Audio-visual equipment must be secured in such a manner that does not damage any public property and without endangering any underground utilities. Televisions, speakers, and video displays must be oriented facing away from vehicle traffic and shall not be arranged consecutively to create a wall or visual obstruction. 
  7. Temporary outdoor retail spaces shall comply with the Community Standards Bylaw at all times.
  8. On-site parking may be used for temporary outdoor retail space, except the required number of designated Accessible Parking Stalls, which must remain available for parking use.
  9. Wheelchair access must be provided to, and throughout, the temporary outdoor retail space.
  10. Umbrellas must stand at least 2.1m (7ft) above the walking surface.
  11. Cooking or food and drink preparation is not permitted on temporary outdoor retail spaces.
  12. A minimum 1.5m (5ft) clearance from fire department (siamese) connections and hydrants must be maintained on a temporary outdoor retail space.
  13. A fire extinguisher (minimum 2A-10BC) must be available within 23m (75ft) of any part of the temporary outdoor retail space.
  14. Temporary outdoor retail spaces must not extend in front of adjacent tenant spaces, exits, or beyond business frontage without written permission from affected adjacent property owners and tenants; this includes any overhanging elements.
  15. Permanent fences and barriers, portable toilets, platforms, decks, or stages are not permitted. Optional temporary outdoor retail space perimeter fencing, planters, or barriers 1.2m (4ft) high or less are permitted, provided they are not damaging any public property, and are secured without endangering any underground utilities.
  16. When a temporary outdoor retail space with capacity for more than 60 people is enclosed by a temporary perimeter fence, it must have at least two separate exits. Only one exit is required where a temporary outdoor retail space has a capacity of up to 60 people. Exit openings must be at least 0.9m (3ft) in clear width, and provided with exit signs where not clearly visible to patrons.   
  17. Any exit gates must swing freely outward from the temporary outdoor retail space during hours of operation.
  18. Any shelter/canopy/tent must be approved by the City for use on a temporary outdoor retail space. When located in a temporary outdoor retail space, a fire-retardant treated shelter/canopy/tent may not exceed 10 square metres (107 square feet) in area and must be secured without endangering underground utilities, or attaching to, drilling or damaging public property. Registrants are limited to 1 shelter, canopy or tent per outdoor retail space.
  19. ULC- or CSA-certified electric or propane patio heaters (with max 20lb tank) are permitted where located at least 3m (10ft) away from City tree branches, operated per the manufacturer’s directions and not stored on the road right-of-way when not in use. Solid-, gel- or liquid-fuel fire features are not permitted. Any heater intended for use inside a tent or shelter is subject to City approval.
  20. A clear path of pedestrian travel of minimum 2.0m (6’6”) must be maintained on the public sidewalk. A clear path of 2.3m (7’6”) is recommended.
  21. The side of the temporary outdoor retail space adjacent to vehicle traffic shall maintain a minimum distance of 0.65m (2’2”) from the edge of any adjacent travel lane. 

Additional Requirements for COVID-19 Temporary Outdoor Retail Space in Public Property

  1. All tents, canopies, shelters and other structures proposed on public property require City approval for use on a temporary outdoor retail space.
  2. Temporary outdoor retail spaces shall not be permitted in any portion of a parking lane or travel lane.
  3. Temporary outdoor retail space shall not be placed within 5.0m (16’5”) from the corner of an intersection and 10.0m (32’9”) from the corner of an intersection that has a stop/yield sign or pedestrian crosswalk.
  4. Temporary outdoor retail space should not encroach into existing loading zones, Accessible Parking Stalls, tow away zones, bus stops or bike lanes. Relocation or removal of the same may be possible and can be coordinated by contacting businessinfo@edmonton.ca.
  5. Temporary traffic controls are required where the temporary outdoor retail space interferes with the movement of people, cyclists or vehicles.
  6. Business owners may provide their own temporary traffic control as outlined in theCity of Edmonton Procedures for On-Street Construction and Safety. Alternatively, you can request temporary traffic control services from the City of Edmonton at businessinfo@edmonton.ca
  7. The business owner is responsible for maintaining any structures and equipment in a safe and clean condition and in good repair. This maintenance must include keeping the area free of any potential dangers; including power cords, debris, snow and ice.
  8. City power receptacles shall not be used for any temporary outdoor retail purposes.

Noise Mitigation

Noise Mitigation and Being a Good Neighbour

A noise mitigation plan is required when a patio is located on public property and proposes to use audio-visual equipment.

The temporary patio program is based on mutual trust, respect, and accountability between businesses, the City, and the general public. We are asking businesses who will be using audio-visual equipment (such as, TVs, speakers) in their temporary patio spaces to provide a noise mitigation plan. This will explain exactly how they will be keeping noise to a minimum and being a good neighbour.

A noise mitigation plan must answer the following questions:

How will sound be managed at the location? Who will be responsible for noise levels? For example: security staff or a manager on site will conduct periodic walkthroughs of the patio to assess noise levels, and if necessary, remind patrons to keep noise to a minimum.

How late into the evening will it remain open? How many speakers are present, and where are they located?
Consider your patio hours of operation and how the noise levels will comply with the Community Standards Bylaw 14600, specifically Sections 14, and 19-22. Are patio hours different from the venue (does the patio close at 10pm and can patrons move indoors?)

How are you ensuring that your speakers will not interfere with neighbours or traffic? For example, set TV volume to a consistent level, and keep in mind that the volume should be turned down in the evening after 10pm. Speakers and TVs should face inwards, and away from the adjacent roadway.

How will noise be managed outside the venue and who is responsible to ensure that noise from the venue does not disrupt surrounding properties?
For instance, It is a good idea to touch base with neighbours to let them know what will be occurring and if there are concerns to chat with the managers. 

Business Licence Number 

View this sample business licence to identify where your business licence number is located.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Are Boardwalk Sidewalks permitted in the winter time?

For those businesses that already have a boardwalk sidewalk, we will coordinate with these businesses to allow them to operate their patio through the winter. This may mean requiring business owners to address the traction of the boardwalks in winter conditions by installing slip resistant materials in addition to requirements to address snow clearing.

Due to timing and resources, we will not be able to permit new boardwalk sidewalk construction. However we are committed to working with businesses for alternative solutions.

Are heaters allowed on patios?

ULC- or CSA-certified electric or propane patio heaters (with max 20lb tank) are permitted where located at least 3m (10ft) away from City tree branches, operated per the manufacturer’s directions and not stored on the road right-of-way when not in use. Solid-, gel- or liquid-fuel fire features are not permitted.

Are these guidelines mandatory?

In order to qualify for the streamlined approval process, you will need to follow these guidelines if you choose to set up a patio. 

Are pets allowed?

Please refer to Alberta Health Services guidelines for direction on the permission of pets.

How do I acquire appropriate fencing?

Fencing is not required. However, temporary traffic control in the form of pylons, signs and barricades may be supplied by the City of Edmonton or private contractors.

What type of barrier/fencing material am I allowed to use?

With respect to temporary traffic control, barricades, pylons and signs may be used to secure an area on road right-of-way.

There is a loading zone/bus stop/accessible stall in front of my cafe. What do I do?

Please contact the City to request relocating City signs at businessinfo@edmonton.ca. Your request will be reviewed and accommodated where possible.

Am I allowed to have live music?

At this point all new temporary patios will not be approved for live music outside and must follow the Community Standards Bylaw for noise restrictions.

Are tailgate parties allowed?

Organized events will need to comply with the provincial government's restrictions.

 

I paid for a sidewalk cafe permit. Can I get a refund?

At this point, we are not offering refunds for previously paid fees. 

Can I serve liquor on the temporary patio?

The business owner is responsible for obtaining all relevant permissions, including but not limited to AGLC, AHS, and their Landlord.

Registration Process

How do I know I have been approved?

For business going through Path B:

There is no approvals process for a temporary patio. By signing the declaration and sending it in, you have indicated you are taking on the responsibility of following the guidelines. 

For business going through Path C:

We will work individually with businesses on a case-by-case basis in order to ensure appropriate permits and licence are in place. 

 

Traffic Control / Roads

What are temporary traffic control measures?

In order to accommodate traffic and pedestrian safety, the City puts in measures. For example, pylons, barricades and signs may be provided.

Is there a fee for road closure and barriers?

No, there is no fee for a temporary patio in 2020.

What does upstream mean?

When we say “upstream” we mean when the direction of traffic flows away from your patio.

How do I request crowd fencing from the City? How long will it take?

Barriers may be provided as part of the temporary traffic control, if required.

Can I put a patio in a bike lane?

A patio must not interfere with a bike lane.However, the accommodation of a bike lane may be possible by contacting businessinfo@edmonton.ca.

What does it cost to get traffic control measures from the City?

At this time there is no cost to receive this support from the City.

For More Information

Email businessinfo@edmonton.ca

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