The patio at iconic Edmonton music bar Blues on Whyte is quiet these days.
While the season is changing and weather is warming up, the chairs are up, tables are covered and there’s a lock on the patio gate.
“[The city of Edmonton] gave us a stop use order with our patio,” Blues on Whyte PR Manger Tony Ruffo said.Blues on Whyte built a smaller patio during the initial COVID-19 closures when people could not eat indoors due to restrictions.
But it later expanded, taking advantage of city programs that encouraged restaurants to maximize their outdoor space.The bar eventually built a patio that covered nearly all its parking lot but the expansion proved to be a problem.
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“The city became interested in our patio and took us out of the red tape reduction program and started to apply building codes and development licensing to the process,” Ruffo said.
Ruffo said he believes the business followed all the rules but the city said it didn’t and that the patio is simply too big.
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The city said the space needs to comply with municipal regulations.
3:17 Edmonton working on relaunch strategy as it relaxes patio rules Edmonton working on relaunch strategy as it relaxes patio rules – May 13, 2020 Councillor Michael Janz said other sites have been able to follow the rules.He said the temporary outdoor patio program is evolving and it has some kinks, but has been successful.
“I think what we had in this case is a provider who got a little creative and that unfortunately that was not permitted under the rules.Now we are working to find a solution,” Janz said.
Read more: COVID-19: 125 temporary outdoor patio requests approved, installed in Edmonton
Ruffo said more than $100,000 has already been spent on the patio.Now he feels the rules have changed.
“We’re being, I think, unfairly disqualified from helping the avenue, helping musicians and allowing our business to recover from COVID,” Ruffo said.
The city said it will be meeting with the management at Blues on Whyte to work out the issues and try to find a solution good for business and to keep Edmontonians safe..