LETHBRIDGE -- The change of season into fall, with the arrival of colder weather and snow, has restaurant managers and owners looking into new patio options.

The city was originally planning to start removing outdoor patios Oct. 15 but some businesses are hoping to have the timeframe extended.

“We’re not sure how long we can stay open for. As long as people are willing to sit outside we will be happy to go outside and serve them,” said the Tracey Rogerson, manager of Telegraph Taphouse.

“We do have patio heaters I’m looking into.”

Patios have been a bit of a saving grace for restaurants, bars and cafes. Provincial guidelines put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 greatly reduced the number of seats available, since dining parties have to be seated at least two meters apart. The city’s outdoor patio plan allowed for places to seat more customers.

“Normally we just have the little outside patio that seats 10 people,” said Rogerson. “This year we had a large patio that has 13 tables at it.”

The Telegraph Taphouse isn’t the only establishment grateful for the city’s patio plan.

“Quite a bit just during lunches and busier times. It allowed a few more people to sit down and enjoy their lunches rather than having to scurry off,” said The Penney Coffee House manager Jacob Ramsdell.

“It’s unfortunate just because of the snow and the removal on our street that we’re not going to be able to continue it.”

Restaurants Canada says 75 per cent of its members are either not breaking even right now or are just barely covering costs.