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UPDATE: June 12, 2020 City exploring new patio initiative as part of staged reopening

Posted on Friday June 12, 2020

The City of Orillia’s Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) is exploring a new initiative to make it easier and more cost efficient for restaurants to open and expand their patios as part of Stage 2 of the province’s reopening.

“The Task Force has undertaken a number of consultations to better understand how to help restaurants as they prepare to open safe patio spaces,” said Coun. Ted Emond, Chair of the ERTF. “We want to ensure that the end result balances the wants and needs of pedestrians, with the abilities of restaurants and business owners. There are a number of complexities and considerations that need to be taken into account before putting anything in place. We continue to explore all options including road closures in the downtown, the reduction of red tape and potentially the waiving of fees.”

The Task Force has completed two consultations specifically related to this proposal and received 16 recommendations from businesses. The DOMB is also complementing this work through a comprehensive survey of all its members.

City staff are also taking part in the review, which needs to ensure provincial emergency measures are adhered to, patios are appropriately set back from vehicular traffic, and reviewing aspects of red tape that could be waived.

“If there are road closures, it will likely look different from what shoppers are used to,” explained Emond. “The focus of the closures will be safety and room to walk, shop and dine at first, but we hope to explore street performers and entertainment in later phases if we can demonstrate that crowding will not become an issue.”

The ERTF hopes to complete a proposal for consideration by the Emergency Management Committee by Friday, June 19.

In the meantime a number of existing restaurant patios are already open in Orillia, and residents are encouraged to support these businesses as they reopen on a broader scale.  Many retailers are also open and offering curbside pick-up and in-store shopping.

“Orillia businesses understand that as you look to celebrate the reopening your safety is top of mind,” said Coun. Emond. “When supporting businesses this weekend, please be patient, wear a mask and shop local.”

For more information on the ERTF and current initiatives, visit the ERTF webpage at

The City of Orillia is a city of 31,000 people in the heart of Ontario’s Lake Country on the shores of Lake Couchiching and Lake Simcoe. Visit our website at



Coun. Ted Emond        
Chair, Economic Recovery Task Force

Laura Thompson
Senior Manager of Business  Development

Jennifer Ruff
Director of Business Development and Communications
705-238-9209 (cell)