By Erika Mathieu
Southern Alberta Newspapers
As of last week, dining establishments with patios may choose to welcome customer’s dogs without approval from AHS. Operators must remain in compliance with municipal bylaws, and meet the specifications of Food Regulation. Before May 26, as stipulated in the Food Regulation, an operator of a patio was required to request authorization from AHS before allowing non-service dogs in outdoor dining settings.
Rules surrounding the amendments to allow dogs on patios include the stipulation that contact information for local bylaw officers should be accessible in the event of a dog-related incident and operators can choose to restrict customers from the patio, if the dog is exhibiting aggression, or is not listening the handler.
The decision is in with what Minister of Health Jason Copping said, is, “long overdue,” and added the decision will support the hard-hit restaurant industry after a particularly difficult few years.
The initiative is part of the province’s ongoing red-tape reduction efforts. In a recent release, Premier Jason Kenney said move came in an attempt to, “lift unnecessary hurdles so more businesses can welcome dog lovers who enjoy dining outdoors.”
The decision will still prioritize food safety. According to the unchanged food safety standards, non-service dogs are allowed on patios only, and are not able to pass through indoor food handling, dining, or preparation areas. Owners are required to have physical control over their dog at all times.
Tanya Fir, associate minister of Red Tape Reduction said in a recent statement, “Common-sense changes to get government out of the way of everyday activities are a key part of our commitment to cut red tape. We’re supporting local businesses by making it easier to allow dogs on patios, improving the experiences of Albertans at hospitality venues all while maintaining high standards for food safety.”
The change applies to canines only, and it will be up to the discretion of the establishment operator as to whether they choose to accommodate non-service dogs in their patio environments.
For more information, visit https://open.alberta.ca/publications/dogs-on-patios-information-sheet-for-operators