As of Thursday, Alberta eateries are no longer required to get Alberta Health Services permission to allow dog owners to bring their pets to outdoor patios. (Advocate file photo)

As of Thursday, Alberta eateries are no longer required to get Alberta Health Services permission to allow dog owners to bring their pets to outdoor patios. (Advocate file photo)

Alberta makes it easier for eateries to allow dogs on outdoor patios

Food establishments no longer required to get AHS approval for dog-friendly patios

It just got easier for Alberta eateries to have pooch-friendly patios.

The Alberta government announced on Thursday that bar and restaurant owners will no longer need approval from a public health inspector to allow dogs on patios.

Alberta’s food regulation change is meant to cut red tape and make it easier for food establishments that want to make outdoor dining easier for their dog-loving customers.

Dog-friendly patios are not required, so owners should check ahead before bringing their furry pals to dinner. The regulation changes apply only to dogs.

“As part of our commitment to cut red tape, we have responded to requests from restaurants to lift unnecessary hurdles so more businesses can welcome dog lovers who enjoy dining outdoors,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

Health Minister Jason Copping said other jurisdictions have allowed dogs on patios without compromising food safety.

“This change is long overdue and will let AHS public health inspectors focus their efforts where they are needed most – supporting restaurants, providing advice and making sure public health requirements are followed.”

Alberta Health Services senior medical officer of health Dr. Laura McDougall said “AHS is supportive of dog-friendly patios as long as it’s being done in a safe manner. We will continue to be available to restaurant owners and Albertans to provide guidance and support in the establishment and maintenance of dog-friendly patios as needed.”

Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada’s vice-president for Western Canada, thanked the province for the move.

“This common-sense change reduces red tape for restaurant owners, provides them with more flexibility, and will also encourage people to dine out more often as the hard-hit food-service sector begins the long road to economic recovery from the pandemic.”

Two main rules apply to businesses interested in allowing dogs on patios.

Non-service dogs are allowed on patios only and must not pass through any indoor food handling areas, such as dining and food preparation areas.

Customers must keep their dogs on a leash or in a carrier and have physical control of the dog at all times.

Under provincial regulations, service dogs are allowed in indoor and outdoor dining areas.



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