Downtown restaurant owners request City of Red Deer to extend Ross Street Patio into winter

Downtown Red Deer restaurant owners want the city to extend the Ross Street Patio season into winter.

In a letter to city council, the owners of three restaurants expressed the need for the outdoor space, citing its attractiveness to the community.

The patios have helped the restaurants rise to the challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, say the owners of Tribe, The Velvet Olive and Taco Loft.

“It’s worth noting that each business has incurred higher costs to build and install larger patios,” the restaurateurs said in the letter, dated Sept. 25.

“There’s also the added effort and cost to disassembling and storing a larger amount of materials for the winter.”

The patio is scheduled to close Oct. 14. The city has yet to make a decision to extend the season.

The owners say adjacent businesses would be happy to enter into an agreement for maintainance and programming of the space over winter, including snow clearing and general care.

Since Downtown Business Association funding has been cut in the 2021 budget, the restaurants need all the help they can get to bring people to the downtown district, the letter states.

The expanded patio this year has kept some of the businesses afloat after being closed for three and a half months by COVID controls, the letter goes on to say.

“Given the economic circumstances, and the demands of COVID-19 mitigation, we very much need the patio for the winter.

“We need the space to accommodate patrons as far into the season as possible, particularly as the second wave of the pandemic rapidly approaches.”

Removal of the patio may mean less programming and less seating capacity, the owners say, referring to the restrictions of COVID-19. That will result in a dramatic drop in revenue for businesses in the area.

“This year, more than any, the importance of this space is paramount to the success of the Ross Street business community.”

The eateries’ owners say they collaborated on programming in the summer, creating physically distanced music events that were well received and helped fill the seats of businesses.

“It’s been extremely encouraging to see, given the economic landscape, that our businesses are experiencing success this summer,” they say in the letter.

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