BARRIE, ONT. -- Barrie city council is doing what it can to help increase revenue for struggling restaurants as they begin to see some restrictions released.

As of Friday, the province is entering step one of its Roadmap to Reopening, allowing restaurants that have been forced to operate with just take-out and delivery options for months to begin to welcome customers back outside.

To help those businesses bring in as much needed revenue as possible, city council met for a special virtual meeting Friday to extend the hours that patios can operate.

"This is a great way for us to support our small local businesses as they recover from the pandemic, and it's a great way for residents to get out and get that sense of social connection that I think everyone is so desperately looking for right now," says Ward 2 councillor Keenan Aylwin, who brought fort the motion behind Thursday's special meeting.

Going into effect simultaneously as the province enters the first step of its reopening plan, the new hours will see patios remaining open until 12:15 a.m. Monday through Thursday, with those hours extended until 2:30 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Canada Day.

Rules for when a person can enter or re-enter a patio have also been extended to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 1:45 a.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Canada Day.

Aylwin, whose motion was seconded by councillor Sergio Morales, says he has heard from some downtown residents concerned about noise volumes, which was why different hours were put in place for weekdays and weekends.

"We wanted to make sure that we could strike that right balance where we're supporting our local businesses by giving them that extra time to do business while also recognizing that people still need to get up in the morning and go to work or their kids need to go to virtual learning, and we don't want to disturb people too much," says Aylwin.

The extended hours are only meant to be in effect while restaurants are unable to serve guests inside. Once indoor dining is allowed, the previous hours that patios had to operate under will resume.