WINNIPEG -- The City of Winnipeg is taking steps to help the hospitality industry deal with tighter indoor restrictions by extending patio season.

On Friday, the city announced its extending its temporary patio program through the winter.

The temporary summer patio licences end on Oct. 31, with the winter patio licenses in effect from Nov. 1 to March 31. The city will accept winter patio registrations beginning on Oct. 14.

Any businesses that want to participate in the temporary winter program will have to submit a new registration form and supporting documentation.

“The immediate extension of outdoor patios to October 31 and the creation of a winter program is one more step the City has been able to take in order to create more flexible conditions for the hospitality industry,” said Mayor Brian Bowman.

“With added restrictions due to the pandemic, the hospitality industry is struggling right now and I am hopeful this winter patio program will help create more opportunities for business owners.”

The city added new operating requirements to the winter program, including permitted heater sources, size and material restrictions for tents or shelters, and snow removal requirements. All winter safety requirements can be found online.

"Anytime you are getting into the cold weather season, you are talking about using heating appliances to keep people safe and warm – we got to make sure those things are inspected and tested," said Jay Shaw, the manager of the city's emergency operations center.

"We just have to make sure people are using the right tools at the right time to be able to keep people safe in those outdoor patios."

Currently, 64 taprooms and restaurants in Winnipeg have temporary summer patio licences.

“As restaurants are forced to navigate the many challenges caused by the pandemic, it is important that the City continues to work with business owners on finding ways for them to safely participate in the province’s reopening strategy,” said Cindy Gilroy, chair of the standing policy committee on property and development, heritage and downtown development.

“I know there were many restaurants that participated in the temporary patio program this past summer and I look forward to seeing how restaurants are able to continue patio service over the winter months.”

Bowman said he is confident the cold won't keep Winnipeggers indoors.

"I'm looking forward to having a cold beer in the snow – with a heater," he said.