Alberta restaurants no longer need approval to operate dog-friendly patios

May 26 2022, 9:48 pm

Life just got a little more fun for those who like to bring their pup everywhere with them: Alberta eateries no longer need health inspector approval to allow dogs on patios.

Effective May 26, 2022, all bars, restaurants, and coffee shops in the province can host our furry friends on their patios, following a change in the province’s Food Regulation protocols.

According to a news release from the Alberta Government, before this change, operators of food establishments were required to request authorization from Alberta Health Services before allowing non-service dogs in outdoor eating areas. From there, a public health inspector would assess the facilityā€™s plan.

“As part of our commitment to cut red tape, we have responded to requests from restaurants to lift unnecessary hurdles so more businesses can welcome dog lovers who enjoy dining outdoors,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in the release.

“I am pleased that this change will make it easier for Albertans to support our restaurant industry while they are out with their dogs this patio season,” Kenny added.

The regulation update applies to any food establishment with a permit from AHS that provides an outdoor eating area for customers. The change removes red tape for eateries that want to make outdoor dining easier for their dog-loving customers.

“AHS is supportive of dog-friendly patios as long as itā€™s being done in a safe manner,” said Dr. Laura McDougall, senior medical officer of health, Alberta Health Services, in the release. “We will continue to be available to restaurant owners and Albertans to provide guidance and support in the establishment and maintenance of dog-friendly patios as needed.”

With that said, establishments are not required to offer dog-friendly patios ā€“ it’ll just be a lot easier for them to do so if they wish.

We advise checking with your favourite local spots to ensure they allow puppers before planning a day of patio-hopping with your four-legged friend.

To make sure all patrons enjoy their visit, owners must keep their dogs on a leash or in a carrier and have physical control of the pup at all times.

As well, non-service dogs are allowed on patios only and can’t pass through any indoor food handling areas, such as dining and food preparation areas. Service dogs are allowed in both indoor and outdoor dining areas.

The amendment in regulations just applies to dogs, and other animals are not included in this change ā€“ so owners of cats, guinea pigs, snakes, birds, and other critters will have to leave their pets at home.

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