North Cowichan will expedite requests for patios and other outdoor expansions by restaurants, bars, and wineries.

The expansion of outdoor seating is one way for these businesses to ensure adequate physical distancing by patrons.

Mayor Al Siebring says North Cowichan wants to, “support the economic recovery in the hospitality sector by processing as a priority any requests for outdoor patio space.”

He says the municipality will do this: “for the duration of the state of emergency.”

Siebring says the permits would be temporary, and valid for about one year.

As for reopening the doors of North Cowichan Municipal Hall, the mayor says they expect that to happen by mid-June to allow people to come in to pay property taxes.

He says city hall will be opening for that only, and he encourages anyone who can pay taxes electronically to do so.

Siebring says North Cowichan plans to lift its moratorium on meetings of committees and other advisory bodies.

This will allow the municipality to move forward with important matters, such as Official Community Plan engagement.

Committee and meetings of advisory bodies will be held electronically to ensure they are done safely and streamed to the public to ensure they’re done in a transparent manner.