If you're looking to spend more time on a patio or at an outdoor restaurant this summer, you may be in luck.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is trying to help the hospitality sector, by making it easier for cities to amend their bylaws. 

"Businesses across the province are demonstrating that we can still enjoy our beautiful Ontario summer while protecting the health and safety of their patrons," said Premier Ford. "Restaurants and bars are an important part of our economy, and a great driver of employment. I am proud to say that we will continue to support them as our province reopens and recovers."

Under the Planning Act, the provincial government notes the process to pass temporary use bylaws to create or extend a patio could take several weeks or more. As restaurants are currently only permitted to host dine-in guests on outdoor patios under Stage 2, Queen's Park has offered an exemption under the emergency order is meant to cut red tape and reduce the process time for passing these bylaws to a matter of days. 

Municipalities would still be responsible for compliance activities and ensuring proper health and safety practices, like proper physical distancing, it says in the media release from Toronto. Compliance with public health measures has been an important consideration for businesses and organizations, who are looking to reopen.

The City of Kenora has already responded, in an effort to ease the financial pain for the hospitality sector during a tough summer for tourism. At their June meeting, councillors and senior staff talked about expanding sidewalks to allow for more commercial space -- including patios and display space for merchants. In previous years, the city has also talked about rooftop patios.

Bars, restaurants and patios in Manitoba have reopened with some public health measures still in place.

For more information:

Ontario Supporting Restaurants as Province Safely Reopens

Rooftop patios a possibility in Kenora

City encourages more patios downtown

Manitoba - Bars, restaurants and patios