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Sidney pulls back on allowing dining in parking spots after indoor seating limits lifted

Indoor restaurant seating no longer limited
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Beacon Avenue in Sidney, where several businesses had taken advantage of the bylaw since it was enacted in June 2020, but by this fall, all but two had stopped and moved dining indoors. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The Town of Sidney is giving parking spots back to the cars.

With public health orders no longer limiting indoor seating, council has decided to rescind a temporary bylaw that allowed restaurants and cafés to convert up to 50 per cent of their private parking spaces to outdoor seating.

“It wasn’t very widely used,” said Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith. “It was in place as a measure to help businesses while there were indoor seating restrictions in place.”

McNeil-Smith said several businesses had taken advantage of the bylaw since it was enacted in June 2020, but by this fall, all but two had stopped and moved dining indoors.

He said town staff reached out to both remaining restaurants before council made its decision, and by that time, one had already stopped, while the other was working on winding down its outdoor space.

Sidney, like many other municipalities, has also allowed restaurants and cafés to get ­permits to use public sidewalks for tables and chairs.

“We already had several ­restaurants that had patio space on the sidewalks, but we had additional uptake over the last two summers as well,” said McNeil-Smith.

Businesses interested in ­continuing to offer outdoor seating can apply for a permit through the town hall.

aduffy@timescolonist.com