Last Wednesday, the Province of Ontario moved into a modified step two of the reopening plan and prohibited indoor dining. With these new restrictions in place, restaurant operators are exploring outdoor dining alternatives and the City is here to help.

For restaurant operators interested in running outdoor winter patios, the City of Kitchener is jumping in to help. Those interested can visit the city’s website and learn more about patio options and the necessary licensing and approvals required.

“Our local restaurant owners continue to show their resiliency in the face of this pandemic,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “We know how hard these restrictions have been on restaurant operators and we're doing everything we can to enable them to pivot – some with outdoor winter dining as an option.”

 The Alcohol and Gaming Corporation of Ontario (AGCO) is the licensing body responsible for outdoor patios. At the beginning of the pandemic, the province allowed municipalities to offer restaurants the ability to operate expanded outdoor patios until December 31, 2021. Recently, the province has extended these guidelines into 2022. Before operating an extended patio, businesses are required to obtain the necessary licensing from the City.

In 2020, the City of Kitchener was one of the first municipalities to provide an expedited approvals process for patio expansions. Approvals were often granted in less than 24 hours, and the City is moving quickly to approve winter 2022 patio approvals for those interested as well.

“Over 100 Kitchener restaurants took advantage of the patio expansion program last season,” said Darren Becks, the City’s Manager of Downtown Development & Innovation. “We’re looking forward to supporting restaurant operators interested in winter patio expansion and for the upcoming patio season. We’re here to help and are doing everything we can to continue to provide quick approvals to ensure businesses can operate their patios.”

Restaurant operators interested in continuing their previously approved 2021 expanded patios during the winter months, or restaurant owners looking to set up new expanded patios for 2022, can visit for details.

Last Friday, the provincial government also announced details of other supports available to the restaurant and other sectors affected by the renewed restrictions. Food and beverage operators are also encouraged to pursue grants available to them, as well as other shutdown support initiatives. Details for this can be found at

 In the coming months, the City also expects to open applications for restaurant operators interested in participating in the patio expansion program for the upcoming spring, summer, and fall patio season.

 Mayor Vrbanovic added, “Many residents have been asking how they can best support their favourite dining establishments and the answer is, #EatLocal. Over the coming weeks, the best thing we can do is support these local restaurants through your take-out and delivery orders, and by visiting any restaurants who decide to provide outdoor dining as an option.”


For more information
 Shawn Falcao
 Manager, Corporate Communications