Relaxed Patio Rules Make a More Enjoyable Summer

With summer in full swing, revellers across the province are having an easier time finding licensed venues where they can celebrate in the sun, thanks to updated liquor service regulations.

Briggs Kitchen + Bar in Calgary

This is the second summer during which licensed restaurants and bars in Alberta have had greater control over the size of their outdoor patios, their design and where customers enter and exit.

There are fewer restrictions on how patios are built and the regulations clearly define how sidewalk patios can be opened and operated. This has allowed venues to take advantage of the unique character of their buildings and better serve their neighbourhoods and customers.

“Every summer, Albertans seek out places where they can enjoy a meal, the company of good friends and some sunshine. We’ve heard from many Albertans who appreciate initiatives like these relaxed regulations that help businesses create spaces for patrons to enjoy.”

~Craig Coolahan, MLA for Calgary-Klein, on behalf of Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance

Businesses can define their outdoor space using decorative items like planters or furniture, instead of a previously required enclosure fence almost a metre high. This change has created better experiences for customers and reduced costs for businesses when building, expanding or renovating a patio.

“On a beautiful summer day, it can be hard to pass up an opportunity to enjoy a great patio. Our updated policies enable businesses to offer the best type of hospitality experience for customers.”

~Alain Maisonneuve, president & CEO, AGLC

The changes are another example of how government has been working to make life better by modernizing liquor regulations in order to better serve Albertans and support the province’s hospitality sector.

“Calgarians know how to put our summer weather to good use. As a business owner, I am thrilled to be able to offer my clients a slice of the beautiful outdoors with our patio.”

~Cam Dobranski, Winebar Kensington owner and chef

Beyond changes to patio policy, venues licensed to serve liquor also benefit from fewer restrictions on how their licensed areas are separated from unlicensed areas or areas under a different type of licence. Specifically, licensees can now:

  • Connect licensed premises to other areas without the need for previously required one-metre-high separations.
  • Have a single permanent opening between two licensed premises where they are operated by the same licensee.
  • Offer direct access to a licenced premises from another licenced area with suitably defined permanent or portable barriers.
  • Define a licensed premises using permanent or portable barriers such as planters, ropes, railings or similar items.

Part of AGLC’s mandate is to ensure Alberta’s liquor industry operates effectively, with integrity and in a socially responsible manner. Clear and efficient policies support this mandate and help sustain a responsible liquor industry that meets the expectations of Albertans.