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Editorial: Patio season gets a boost

opinion editorial stock

The Okotoks community has got through Thanksgiving and thankfully, for the area’s restaurants, pubs and other businesses, the weather has been warm for the fall season.

However, people heading for patios and restaurant decks may end soon as Jumping Jack Frost starts making his way into southern Alberta.

Fortunately, this year it won’t mean a complete shutdown for restaurants in Okotoks.

The Town of Okotoks has wisely extended the patio and outside usage for restaurants and pubs until May 1, 2021.

Those in the restaurant business have — like plenty of businesses in the area — had it tougher than a non-Alberta steak since the COVID-19 pandemic.

After being allowed to offer only takeout, they have since been able to open to limited capacity. However it’s far from a full opening, which would have been desirable during the spring and summer.

Now, extending the patio hours won’t solve the issues. Having a cold Fahr or 1882 Golden Ale at -15C is about as appealing as an oatmeal Slurpee.

As for the weather, like the Charles Dudley Warner quote, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

Businesses in Okotoks may gripe at times, but they have a tendency to do something about difficult situations.

It won’t be cheap and it won’t be easy to retrofit a patio for the winter months.

However, it does provide unique opportunity and Okotoks businesses have proven during the COVID pandemic they can pivot when the going gets tough.

Extending the patio season won’t end restaurants’ woes, but it may help lesson the blows.

So grab a jacket and let’s lift a cold — or a warm one — for the extended patio season.