Temporary outdoor patios give businesses some extra space for physical distancing

Patio season in Calgary is a crowded affair. At this time of year, Calgarians flock to hotspots on Stephen Avenue and 17th Avenue to soak up the much-needed sun after a long winter. While there are many established patios in Calgary, there are also many local businesses who could use a bit of extra space.

“As we prepare for the Province’s opening date for Calgary, currently slated for Monday, May 25, Council has announced a new temporary permission for outdoor patios,” explains Sonya Sharp, leader, Business and Local Economy and chair of the Business Sector Support taskforce.

“A patio is a great option for a business looking to provide some additional space for both patrons and staff, to spread out in this time where physical distance is so important,” says Sharp. “The temporary space could be used for retail outlets, such as a sidewalk sale, or for restaurants who want more physical space to operate.”

When considering if a temporary patio will work for your location, John Bolger, manager, Roads, suggests evaluating if your site can still maintain pedestrian safety and accessibility. “Our temporary permission comes with conditions as well as acknowledging requirements from Alberta Health and Occupational Health and Safety.”

There is no fee for a temporary patio on public property such as a sidewalk. “Our goal is to help businesses get their patios up-and-running quickly, and we encourage businesses to call us to get the process started,” says Debra Hamilton, director, Community Planning.

If an operator wants to establish a patio on private property, they will need a development permit. However, once the permit is approved, the patio approval is permanent and does not need to be renewed.

Businesses looking to apply for a temporary outdoor patio can contact the Planning Services Centre at (403) 268-5311 open from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. or speak to us over live chat at