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Patio season heats up with fewer rules

It is now easier for licensed venues to offer the type of patio experience customers want, thanks to new policy that includes fewer restrictions on how patios are built.
Minister Joe Ceci and Alain Maisonneuve announce new patio rules at an event during the Calgary Stampede.
Licensed restaurants and bars in Alberta now have greater control over the size of their patio, its design, as well as where customers enter and exit. The new policy also clearly defines how sidewalk patios can be opened and operated. This allows venues to take advantage of the unique character of their buildings so they can better serve their neighbourhoods and customers.
“Albertans enjoy the outdoors and patios are great meeting places for Albertans to enjoy themselves. They make our neighbourhoods welcoming and vibrant. This policy makes life better for businesses and patrons alike by allowing for types of patios that recognize the unique character of the building, neighbourhood and customers.”
-Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance
Previously, venues had to build a three-foot-high enclosure in order to operate their patio. Businesses can now define their outdoor space using planters or other decorative items like furniture. This change creates a more visually appealing experience for customers and reduces the financial barrier businesses face when building, expanding or renovating a patio.
“Patio season may be short, but it can be an important part of attracting business during the summer months. We have cut the red tape that establishments were experiencing. In short, patio policy is now less prescriptive.”
-Alain Maisonneuve, acting president & CEO, Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
The changes are another step in the government’s work to modernize liquor regulations in order to better serve Albertans and support the industry from grain to glass.
Beyond changes to patio policy, venues licensed to serve liquor will also benefit from fewer restrictions on how their licensed areas must be separated from unlicensed areas or areas under a different type of licence. Specifically, licensees can now:

  • Connect licensed premises to other areas without the need for previously required one-metre-high separations.
  • Have a permanent opening between two licensed premises where they are operated by the same licensee.
  • Offer direct access to a minors-prohibited premises from another licensed area.
  • Define a licensed premises using permanent or portable barriers such as planters, ropes, railings or similar items.

A part of the AGLC’s mandate is to ensure Alberta’s liquor industry operates effectively, with integrity and in a socially responsible manner. Clear and efficient policies support this mandate and help sustain a responsible liquor industry that meets the expectations of Albertans.

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