GUELPH -- Hiring signs at downtown Guelph restaurants have been posted as the dining district pilot project has been extended for the rest of the summer.

Certain streets have been closed off to allow for restaurants to extend their patios, and business has been booming for establishments like NV Kitchen and Bar.

“We’re looking for more bartenders, we’re looking for servers,” said co-owner Richard Overland. “It’s amazing.”

The City of Guelph officially announced that Windham and MacDonnell streets will stay closed off to cars until Labour Day.

When the pandemic started, Overland says they and other businesses were hurting, and their regular patio wasn’t enough.

“As it went on it started getting scary,” he said. “24 seats on the patio doesn’t pay the bills. It was enough to pay the staff, pay part of the mortgage, and part of the utility bills.”

The dining district extension means that their patio can now fit nearly 70 seats. NV Kitchen and Bar has been able to hire back all their staff, but now they need more.

“We got lucky in the kitchen,” said Overland. “We had two guys go off to school, and now they can’t go to school, so they came back and asked if there was a chance for work, and we went ‘yeah there is!’”

The co-owner adds that they’ve invested in nice fencing and patio heaters for extra comfort.

The decision to bring the dining district back next summer is now up to city council.

“That organically happened by a lot of the businesses in the downtown collaborating,” said Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie. “They actually went together to build the barriers, to have lights up above, and that's the type of thing people love. It is a great atmosphere.”

Guelph residents are encouraged to share their input on the project by contacting their local councillor.