Recovery Project/Plan

City of Orillia See You on the Patio Program

Submitted ByCity of Orillia

In the spring of 2020, COVID related restrictions had severely impacted local businesses, and in particular, retail, food service, and arts and culture industries. As of June 12, 2020, most retail businesses, including restaurant and bar patios were allowed to begin operations in a modified manner. The ERTF developed new programming to promote local shopping and dining and developing new programs to promote the use of patios and use of the public realm to increase the capacity of local businesses. The first phase of the project supported a new patio approval program throughout the City of Orillia, the creation of a Patio Task Force, creation of a City wide marketing program, a street animation program and amendments to the Downtown Tomorrow Community Improvement Plan to support the construction of patios. The second phase implemented a new downtown street closure program to encourage businesses to expand into the public realm (streets and sidewalks). The See You on the Patio Program ran from July 10-September 25, 2020, and two comprehensive surveys (one for businesses and one for visitors) were undertaken to determine the effectiveness of the program. This program was complemented by a concurrent “Shop Local” marketing campaign which further extolled the values (socially and economically) of supporting local entrepreneurs. Careful evaluation of this program has taken place to evaluate the success of the program (from the perspective of visitors and businesses), and areas for improvement and the ERTF is recommending an updated See You on the Patio Program for 2021.