The two-month closure to vehicle traffic on Bernard Avenue began on Monday with the start of the city’s patio extension program.
Workers have been busy setting up fencing and barriers in order to allow for businesses to expand their patios onto the street. This project will allow businesses to expand customer capacity that otherwise would be limited by COVID-19 guidelines.
“The whole purpose of having a pedestrian walkway on Bernard is more eyeballs on every business downtown,” Downtown Kelowna Association executive director Mark Burley said.
“The patios are really going to take advantage of it because they’re outside, but they create traffic. The more people we have walking up and down Bernard, the better it is for all businesses in downtown Kelowna—even those who aren’t within the closure area.”
The closure impacts the area of Bernard from St. Paul Street to The Sails. This also includes the portion of Mill Street adjacent to Kerry Park and a small area of Abbott Street from Bernard to Lawrence Avenue.
While this initiative is meant to help businesses through COVID-19, it will also allow for more people to enjoy downtown safely and, if successful, may be rolled out in future years.
“You can achieve your physical distancing. If that’s what’s holding you back from coming downtown, don’t worry about it. Theres lots of room,” Burley said.
A map of the first wave of participating businesses can be found below.
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