KITCHENER -- The City of Kitchener has extended its patio program to Jan. 1, 2021.

City officials said they would allow patios to stay past that day if the province chooses to allow temporary patios to remain open into the new year.

"The now extended patio program allows bar and restaurant operators the opportunity to offer food services on temporary outdoor patios city-wide and expanded sidewalks patios downtown Kitchener," a news release from the city said in part. "The extension of the program is aimed at continuing to support and offer bar and restaurant operators options amongst the challenges presented by the pandemic."

The city launched the patio program earlier this year to allow bars and restaurants to create new or extended patios after indoor dining was banned because of COVID-19. Officials said more than 60 operators have used the program.

“This global pandemic has brought on so many new challenges for bar and restaurant owners. Extending the patio season, I hope will give owners options while staying within provincial and regional public health guidelines,” Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said in the release. “Heated outdoor patios this upcoming winter season, could be a great way to support local businesses while still following public health guidelines.”

City staff will be in contact with business owners to give them more information about the program's extension and offering support for operating during the fall and winter.

Anyone who wants to install temporary tents or heaters will need to follow building codes and fire requirements.

The city said owners and operators will be responsible for clearing snow from their properties.