Cheers! Alberta relaxes patio and venue rules

Published July 13, 2017

Licensees now have more flexibility on patio operation and venue separations, thanks to the province’s efforts to modernize liquor regulations.

Patio owners get more freedom

The first policy update makes it easier for you to add, expand or renovate your patio space. It allows you to:

  • give customers street access to the patio, rather than from inside the licensed establishment only;
  • establish a patio enclosure that fits your venue and neighbourhood, rather than a mandatory three-foot-high enclosure;
  • choose your own patio size, conditional on municipal requirements including patron occupancy limits; and
  • open a sidewalk patio (permitted since 2014, but not part of written policy).

Licensees have fewer restrictions on venue separation

The second update makes it easier for you to add, expand or renovate licensed and unlicensed portions of their venues. It allows you to:

  • offer direct access to a Minors Prohibited (MP) premise from another licensed area;
  • connect licensed premises and unlicensed or licensed areas, without the need for a one-metre-high separation;
  • have a permanent opening between two licensed premises, if operated by the same licensee; and
  • define a licensed premise using permanent or portable barriers (e.g. planters, ropes, railings or similar items), except for MP premises which require full-height, solid walls.

Contact Restaurants Canada’s Paul McKay if you have questions.


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