Edmonton restaurants heating things up for winter patio season

Patio season would typically be nearing its end now but that is not quite the case this year.

Some Edmonton restaurants are getting ready for a new patio season, one that will require some extra layers of clothing to keep warm.

“Little Brick is known for its patio in the summer, and we’re extending that into the winter,” Jay Downton, co-owner of Little Brick Café, said Saturday.

To help combat the cold, they have added a tent and installed multiple space heaters.

“People are looking to do things outside, and hopefully, we’re providing an environment here this winter that people will enjoy,” Downton said.

But when it gets really cold, will Edmontonians warm up to this idea?

“I think getting outside as much as we can in the winter helps with seasonal affective disorder,” café patron Brittany Woods said.

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“I think it makes people happy.”

“COVID is creating a new reason for patios to stay open. There’s more likelihood that people are wanting to be outdoors,” said Jeff Chase, director of local economy with the City Edmonton.

“The patio program was launched back in May, easing restrictions as a way to help small businesses increase capacity amid the pandemic.”

Now the program has been extended.

“We know that the priority for businesses is to keep their doors open and so we want to make that as easy as possible,” Chase said.

Read more: Edmonton patio restrictions eased, city extends state of emergency amid provincial relaunch

Downton said the café is committed to staying open even if Mother Nature doesn’t co-operate.

“Minus 30 is minus 30, and we aren’t going to be able to compete with that. There might be a few days, those five or six days a year where we’re the coldest place on the planet, where the patio might not be available but we’ll give it a shot if people want to use it,” Downton said.

It’s an idea that so far has some patrons ready and willing to support.

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“Doing something like this is a great idea — that you can still attract people, you can still make some money and people can still go and support local,” Kelly Meeking, who was visiting the café, said.

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