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'Influx of Quebec visitors' to ByWard Market forces city council to rethink COVID-19 patio bylaw

According to the report, there were concerns brought to light regarding excessively dense congregating areas, which were making it difficult to practice physical distancing in the ByWard Market.
20200715_Byward Market Patio
Large group gatherings happening in Ottawa's ByWard Market during COVID-19 force city council to amend the patio by-law. Photo/Ottawa Matters

Patios in the city’s downtown core are creating some issues, making it hard to physically distance, so Ottawa city council is amending several provisions of the patio bylaw pertaining to ByWard Market businesses.

City council released those amendments Wednesday evening following a meeting — one which was brought forth by Coun. Tim Tierney and OPH chair and city councillor Keith Egli in a motion regarding patio operating hours specific to the ByWard Market. 

According to the report, there were concerns brought to light regarding large and dense crowds of people congregating, which were making it difficult to practice physical distancing in the ByWard Market.

This, the city says, is because of an influx of patrons from outside of Ontario as a result of the decision by the province of Quebec to close all bars at 12 p.m.

As a result, the City of Ottawa has decided to do the following regarding the Right of Way Patio Bylaw:

  • All patio permits issued in the market will be forced to close by 1 a.m. until October 31 of this year,
  • The 1 a.m closure will go into effect this Friday, July 17
  • All patio permits include the condition that the Province’s Emergency Orders and OPH guidelines related to COVID-19 must be observed or the permit will be revoked

As of right now, there are 36 patios in the market that close at 2 a.m. -- 20 of which close at 11 p.m.-- according to Court Curry, manager of Right of Way at heritage and urban design services at the City of Ottawa.

“There is the need from an equity perspective but also from an operational enforcement perspective to have a consistent hour of closure,” Curry said. “There are valid Public Health and By-law Services concerns about folks’ ability to achieve physical distancing, now more important than ever with the Phase 3 requirement that By-law be required to enforce physical distancing with fines, the concern that the late hour “event gathering” tendencies of the Market are being amplified by the closures (photos from Saturday night attached where we had 16 notices of violation).”

The motion will be reviewed in late August. 

This motion, Curry said, will apply in other parts of the city as it is required.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that restaurants will have to close to 1 a.m., Curry added, as their interiors may (as of Friday) stay open until 2 a.m.




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