KITCHENER -- Those walking through Downtown Kitchener may have noticed a number of new patios popping up on the sidewalks.

Business owners like Phong Tran of Matter of Taste say they’re getting ready to reopen and serve food and drinks on their patios as soon as Ontario’s stay-at-home order is lifted.

“Perfect vision of it is going to be hustle bustle with social distance at play,” he said.

With losses of $200 a month, Tran adds that patios are essential to businesses recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.

“It’s been really tough,” he said. “We had two locations and we had to close down one. This one is barely doing enough.”

Tran says the patio could help bring in about 80 per cent of their business.

The patios are part of a new pop-up initiative from the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area as well as the city.

“We want our businesses to be read and able to make up that revenue as soon as the government says go,” said Linda Jutzi, executive director of the BIA. “We’re raising the bar. For the most part, all of our patios are a much large footprint than they were last year.”

The BIA is fully funding the project which includes a patio at Mark’s Caribbean Kitchen.

“I hope by June, somewhere down the line, it feels like it’s been two to three years, but we’re getting there,” said owner Mark Vaughan. “If there’s no dine in, and they open back up for patio season, it’s going to generate a lot of money, and it’s going to bring a lot of people out.”

Hamilton based Pop-Up Street Patios are setting up the patios and some community spaces.

“We’ve had calls from Vancouver, emails from Nova Scotia, PEI,” said president Saverio Valerio. “It’s just been wild.”

A total of 21 patios are being installed in Downtown Kitchener as part of the project.