Orillia’s Economic Recovery Task Force is looking for feedback from residents, visitors, and local businesses on its initiative to promote bar and restaurant patios throughout the city this summer.
Two surveys have been launched to gather information from both patrons and business owners on the “See You On The Patio” program:
The initiative was launched in mid-July and has assisted in promoting enhanced activity on restaurant patios, both in the downtown core and beyond, in a safe manner.
“The evidence we have seen and the general feedback received indicates the program has been quite successful,” said Coun. Ted Emond, Chair of the ERTF. “The survey is intended to quantify what we have experienced, learn how we can make improvements and to use that information to plan ahead for next year, as the City continues its efforts towards a longer-term recovery for local businesses.”
Since July 10, the City of Orillia and the Downtown Orillia Management Board (DOMB) have been working with bars and restaurants to expand their outdoor seating capacity in an effort to assist them through provincial restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The increased activity throughout the City has also stimulated traffic for retailers.
Since early July, the City of Orillia and local business support organizations (Downtown Orillia Management Board, Orillia & Lake Country Tourism, the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce and the Orillia Area Community Development Corporation) have developed a program to help bars and restaurants expand their seating, promote patronage to local restaurants and stimulate traffic to local retailers.
The City of Orillia subsequently created a new Patio Undertaking and Acknowledgement process, which was especially helpful for those restaurants located outside of the downtown area that otherwise would have been required to go through a Site Plan Approval process that can be expensive and time consuming.
A checklist was developed through the collaboration of several departments at the City, which ensured that businesses in areas like Memorial Avenue, West Orillia and other parts of the City were able to quickly pivot to outdoor dining.
The City-wide “See You On the Patio” program was promoted via radio advertising and on social media, and was also included as part of the ERTF’s larger “Stay Safe, Shop Local” campaign, which included billboards and digital marketing in co-operation with Orillia & Lake Country Tourism and the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce.
Most city restaurants have taken advantage of the opportunity to expand their outdoor seating capacity. Downtown streets have also been closed on Friday and Saturday evenings during the height of summer to cater to allow businesses to spill out into the public realm to accommodate new patio space. The downtown street closures will continue until at least the Labour Day weekend.
Anyone who takes the survey can qualify to win one of two prizes of $100 Downtown Dollars. The surveys will be active until Sept. 14, 2020, and the draw will take place on Sept. 15, 2020.
Source: City of Orillia