Barrie businesses, BIA push for longer patio season
BARRIE, ONT. -- For most of the pandemic, patios have served as a lifeline for many businesses in downtown Barrie. Even on days with a cool breeze, patios along Dunlop Street have been busy.
This weekend marks the end of the Dunlop Street extended patio program, as well as the last Saturday of the Open Air Dunlop pilot project-- which saw the street closed to drivers to pull visitors downtown.
A motion has been put forward to request that the extended patio program continue into the end of November to help struggling businesses.
"I would say 95% of our businesses just love it, it's increased sales and foot traffic…and that's what we want," said Kristen Eatch with the Downtown Barrie Business Association.
With much of the Greater Toronto Area facing restrictions on indoor dining, Eatch believes the time is right to push for a longer patio season.
"With more restrictions that could be coming our way, an extended patio season in the outdoor where people feel safe and comfortable would definitely be beneficial for businesses."
Christian Mota, manager of the Wired Owl Coffee Company, says the shop has benefitted tremendously from Open Air Dunlop and extended patios.
"Ever since Open Air started, business has been up, there's so much more foot traffic, people have been so friendly, and it's nice to see people out and about again," Mota said.
It isn't only restaurants and cafes benefiting from added space and a blocked-off road. Stores like ZUZU Fashion Boutique have seen an increase in sales.
"We've been very busy, there's been a lot of excitement drawing people down to our store and along the Main Street," said stylist Karen Dorland.
While the Open Air pilot is done, the BIA said they are not ruling out potentially blocking off the street in the future for other events.