City to close several ByWard Market streets to accommodate larger patios

William Street in ByWard Market
William Street, seen in this pre-pandemic photo, is one of the roads in the ByWard Market that will be closed this summer. (Image by Jarett Lopez / Pixabay)

With Ottawa bars and restaurants still restricted to serving customers outdoors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the city is closing several ByWard Market streets to allow businesses to enlarge their patios and increase their capacity.

Starting July 4, the city will close:

  • William Street between George and York streets;
  • Clarence Street between Parent Avenue and Dalhousie Street;
  • ByWard Market Square between York and Clarence streets; and
  • The north side of York Street, between ByWard Market Square and Sussex Drive
ByWard Market road closure map

The closures, which will run until the end of patio season this fall, were announced by Coun. Mathieu Fleury and Mayor Jim Watson Wednesday morning.

While bars and restaurants generally welcomed news that they would be allowed to start operating their patios earlier this month, some have questioned whether these businesses would be viable with outdoor-only seating areas. Tables and chairs must also be spread farther apart to abide by physical distancing requirements, further limiting patio capacity.

Since the start of the pandemic, several long-standing ByWard Market businesses have announced that they will be closing permanently, including the Highlander Pub as well as the Fish Market Restaurant and its sister establishments.