George Street closure - Downtown public space

full bike rack

Aerial view of downtown

George Street will be closed from McDonnel Street to King Street from 3 p.m. on Friday, June 12, 2020 until the night of Sunday, June 14, 2020 to help people with physical distancing as businesses resume more activities under Stage 2 of the Province’s framework for re-opening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The purpose of the street closure is only to provide space for pedestrians to stay a safe distance away from each other, not for street activities or structures. Residents are reminded that spaces created by road closures are smoke-free according to City by-law.

Currently, only previously approved patios are allowed to be established on downtown sidewalks.

The weekend George Street closure is an interim measure while the City works to put in place broader changes to increase sidewalks space to assist with physical distancing by changing vehicle lanes and on-street parking. The broader changes are expected to be implemented within the next couple of weeks as the City acquires and installs barriers between vehicle lanes and the new pedestrian spaces.

A map of the planned broader changes to sidewalks, vehicle lanes, and on-street parking is is provided below. The changes were developed in collaboration with Peterborough Public Health and the Downtown Business Improvement Area.

Besides providing more pedestrian space, the broader changes will allow businesses to work with the City through a new streamlined application process to make use of some sidewalk space to offer services outside, while maintaining space for physical distancing and following public health guidelines.

The temporary changes to sidewalks, on-street parking, and vehicle travel lanes in the downtown is to improve public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic while attempting to balance several priorities including:

  • Pedestrian safety
  • Active transportation
  • Access for people travelling by vehicles
  • Accessibility
  • Emergency services
  • Parking
  • Commercial deliveries
  • Construction
  • Patio/business areas
  • Curbside pickup

A date hasn’t been set on when the temporary changes would end as it will depend on the COVID-19 pandemic situation and provincial direction as well as the activity in the central area.


Currently, only previously approved patios are able to establish on downtown sidewalks as the first phase in a phased approach.

For businesses looking to add new patios or expand previously approved patios, a new streamlined application process has been set up to quickly review and approve requests that meet public health guidelines and essential requirements for the use of the public property. The application process will be available starting next week.

Patio operators are asked to follow the Province’s guidelines on the safe re-opening under the emergency situation and public health guidelines including:

  • Restricting the number of patrons on the patio to a maximum of 50% of the previously approved capacity.
  • Ensure physical distancing of at least 2 metres between patrons from different households.
  • Using reservations – no lineups as space is limited and lineups onto the sidewalk will make it difficult for physical distancing.
  • Limiting the number of patrons allowed in the outdoor space at one time.
  • Ensuring enough space between tables, including to allow for movement.
  • Access to indoor facilities is limited to patio/outdoor dining area access, food pickup, payment, washrooms or other health and safety purposes.
  • Not using overhead structures such as tents and canopies that may impede with pedestrians and physical distancing (using umbrellas is encouraged to provide shade).
  • Ensuring tables and chairs are at least one metre from the outer limit of the patio, in order to facilitate physical distancing.

Liquor sales licensees who wish to temporarily extend the physical size of their existing licensed patio, or temporarily add a new licensed patio within the approved period are authorized to do so, if all the following criteria are met:

  • The physical extension of the premises is adjacent to the premises to which the licence to sell liquor applies.
  • The municipality in which the premises is situated does not object to an extension.
  • The licensee can demonstrate sufficient control over the physical extension of the premises.
  • There is no condition on the liquor sales licence prohibiting a patio.

Patio owners and operators are reminded that smoking and vaping are prohibited on all patios, and within 9 metres of the patio. All patios must be appropriately signed according to the requirements of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

Map of planned changes to roads, sidewalks and on-street parking