Patio season gets fewer rules

Above: Minister Joe Ceci and Alain Maisonneuve announce new patio rules at an event during the Calgary Stampede.

by Morinville News Staff

New government policy that includes fewer restrictions on how patios are built will now make it easier for licensed venues to offer the type of patio experience customers want.

Before the changes, venues had to build a three-foot-high enclosure to operate their patio. Businesses can now define their outdoor space using planters or other decorative items, including furniture.

The government says the change creates a more visually appealing experience for customers and reduces the financial barrier businesses face when building, expanding or renovating a patio.

The new policy also clearly defines how sidewalk patios can be opened and operated, allowing venues to take advantage of the unique character of their buildings so they can better serve their neighbourhoods and customers.

“Albertans enjoy the outdoors and patios are great meeting places for Albertans to enjoy themselves,” said Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance. “They make our neighbourhoods welcoming and vibrant. This policy makes life better for businesses and patrons alike by allowing for types of patios that recognize the unique character of the building, neighbourhood and customers.”

Alain Maisonneuve, acting president & CEO, Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, said although patio season in Alberta may be short, it can be an important part of attracting business during the summer months.

“We have cut the red tape that establishments were experiencing. In short, patio policy is now less prescriptive,” Maisonneuve said.

Venues licensed to serve liquor will also benefit from fewer restrictions on how their licensed areas must be separated from unlicensed areas or areas under a different type of licence.

Licensees can now connect licensed premises to other areas without the need for previously required one-metre-high separations.

They can also have a permanent opening between two licensed premises where they are operated by the same licensee and offer direct access to a minors-prohibited premises from another licensed area.

More information is available at

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