The Halifax Regional Municipality is waiving sidewalk patio fees, to help restaurants and cafés with economic recovery from COVID-19.
Regional council made the decision at Tuesday's virtual meeting.
Councillor Waye Mason put forward the motion, saying it's one small thing HRM can do for those in the hospitality-based sector.
"Waiving these fees gives us an opportunity to provide some relief to some of the hardest hit businesses that will help ease the burden a tiny amount," he says.
A timeline for when Public Health orders will allow restaurants to provide dine-in service, has not been provided by the province.
"Not knowing when you might be able to open up your restaurant makes it hard to justify spending the money to put out a patio you might not get a lot of utility out of," says Mason.
It is expected that physical distancing will be in place for some time following dine-in services restarting, which will result in less seating space that could in part be offset by an outdoor patio.
"It's small, but.. it will help restaurants and cafes have some place to put their customers because they aren't going to be able to fit them all inside," says Councillor Shawn Cleary, who voted in favour of the motion.
HRM's patio fees range in price from $250 per season for an unenclosed sidewalk café, to $1,000 for an annual sidewalk café.
Waiving the fees is expected to result in a decrease of revenue by about $40,000, which has been incorporated in the revised proposed 2020/21 operating budget.
The motion passed unanimously and will apply to all businesses with sidewalk patios throughout the municipality.