Patio season may be coming to an end, but downtown Salmon Arm businesses assured they will return next spring.
Hanoi 36 was the first of two downtown businesses to set up a sidewalk patio for the summer of 2020.
And owner Michael Vu will be the last to remove the on-street seating option, located along the curb in front of the restaurant at 141 Hudson Ave.
While the patio provides additional seating – a benefit when provincial restrictions around COVID-19 were eased to allow people to eat out once more – Vu said more important is it also serves as an attraction for his and neighbouring downtown businesses.
“It’s sort of like a meeting point now – this part of Hudson was never really busy until we got the patio where we actually see a lot more foot traffic and stuff like that,” said Vu.
He credits the city for putting in place a bylaw that gives downtown business owners the option to set up a patio out front.
The city’s Sidewalk Cafe Policy allows the patios to be in place until Oct. 31. The Shuswap Pie Company’s is already packed away for the fall, but owner Tovah Shantz said it will return in May, as permitted by the policy.
With COVID-19, the patio offered the only seating the busy restaurant could safely offer patrons. “This particular summer it was very beneficial being as we didn’t have anyone sitting inside – that was all we had,” said Shantz.
While there were a few complaints when the patio became busy, Shantz said that overall it worked well for patrons, and was supported by neighbouring businesses.