In response to the challenges faced by restaurant and bar owners due to COVID-19, our patio expansion program helps speed up approvals for new or expanded temporary outdoor patios. Approvals of a new or extended patio are only valid for the rest of 2021.

Existing patios

If you have an existing patio and you don’t plan on expanding the size or footprint of your patio, you do not need any further approvals from the city. Please review the resources linked below, which offer guidance on how to safely operate a food establishment and patio:

New and expanded patios

If you are looking to temporarily create a new outdoor patio, or expand an existing patio, you must first obtain approval from the City of Kitchener. To receive approval, please follow these steps:  

Step 1 – Review the Design Requirements for Patios

Prior to designing or developing a proposed configuration for your patio, please review the following guidelines and requirements:

Patio Location and Footprint

  1. The patio shall not obstruct any fire hydrants or Siamese connection.
  2. The patio shall not obstruct any fire exits.
  3. Where located on a walkway, the patio should continue to maintain a minimum walkway of 2.5 metres. If patio tables are located at least 0.7 metres from the edge of the patio, the minimum walkway may be reduced to 1.8 metres.
  4. The patio shall not block any walkways or ramps required for barrier free access.
  5. The patio shall be located outside any driveway or corner visibility triangles. Such triangles may be shown on the approved site plan.
  6. If located in a parking area, the patio shall not obstruct any fire routes or significantly impeded access from the fire route to the main entrance.
  7. If located in a parking area, the patio limits should not be located directly adjacent to an active parking stall. Where possible, a buffer of 1 full or 1 half parking space should be provided.
  8. If located in a parking area, the patio shall not cover any barrier free parking spaces, unless said parking spaces are planned to be replaced in an alternate, suitable location. Said new spaces shall be developed in consultation with Transportation Planning, to City design standards.
Maximum Seating Capacity
  1. Seating currently provided inside the restaurant may be removed and replaced with equivalent seating on the patio; or,
  2. Where the current indoor seating capacity is less than the occupant load, the additional seating capacity may be assigned to the patio.
  3. At no time, can the total capacity exceed 1 person for every 1.11 square metres of patio space, as per the requirements of the Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario.

If the occupant load of your business is not known, you will be required to provide additional information.

Patio Seating & Layout

You will be required to submit a Patio Layout Plan showing the following:

  • Patio entrance
  • Table sizes
  • Host/hostess stand if applicable
  • Widths of all walkways/aisle ways
  • Distance between tables/seating and edge of patio, if greater than 0 metres

In developing your layout, consider the following design requirements:

  1. The limits of the patio must be clearly defined as follows:Patio tables should be positioned in such a manner as to ensure 1.8 metres of physical distancing can be maintained between patio patrons and passing pedestrian traffic. Appropriate measures shall be incorporated to ensure protection of patrons on the patio. This could include measures such as fencing or planter boxes.
    • The boundary must be readily distinguishable, through the use of measures such as pavement markings, painted lines, flower pots, fencing, etc.
    • If adjacent to traffic, the patio must be defined utilizing measures which ensure vehicles cannot enter the patio, such as fencing, planters, etc.
  2. Where located adjacent to the restaurant, the patio must maintain a minimum 1.8 metre wide unobstructed pathway from the door to the sidewalk or parking area.
  3. Where located away from the restaurant (such as in a parking area) the patio must maintain a minimum 1.8m entrance into the patio.
  4. Tables and chairs must be located in a manner that achieves physical distancing. Presently, a minimum of 1.8 metres should separate any grouping of tables and chairs.
  5. Consideration should be provided at all times for barrier free and wheelchair access to the patio.

Based on the sketch provided, the City will develop a digital, scaled plan of the proposed patio layout utilizing a standardized template.

In addition, please review the Region of Waterloo Public Health Guidelines for Re-Opening Restaurants & Food Services.

Step 2 – Obtain written authorization from your property owner/landlord
You must obtain written authorization from your property owner that confirms the property owner’s consent to allow your proposed patio. You will not need to submit this authorization, however the City may, at any time, require you to provide documentation (ex: written letter, email, etc.).
Step 3 – Scan or photograph of your liquor license
As part of Step 6, you will be required to submit a copy of your liquor license.  
Step 4 – Identify the proposed footprint of your new or expanded patio

As part of Step 6, you will be required to submit a plan which clearly identifies the location, boundary and footprint of your proposed patio. The boundary may be outlined on an aerial photograph or on an approved site plan. This plan should be developed in accordance with the design guidelines listed in Step 1 - Patio Location and Footprint. See the sample diagram as an example of a sufficient submission. 

Step 5 – Develop a diagram which identifies the layout and seating plan for your patio

As part of step 6, you will be required to submit a diagram which identifies the following:

  1. The dimensions of the patio
  2. The patio entrance
  3. Location of all table and chairs
  4. The sizes and dimensions of all tables and chairs
  5. Host/hostess stand if applicable
  6. Widths of all walkways/aisle ways
  7. Distance between tables/seating and edge of patio, if greater than 0 metres.

See the sample diagram as an example of a sufficient submission.

Step 6 – Complete The Online Application Form

Please complete the online application form. Once you have submitted your application, City staff will review and notify you within 2 working days. You will either receive notice that your application has been approved or that changes or other permits may be required in order to approve your application.