MONTREAL -- The city of Laval is launching a pilot project that will allow businesses to expand their spaces temporarily – a move designed to increase customer capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Owners can now ask for an exception to extend a terrace on their land, in a parking lot or through a public space. 

Laval’s executive committee member responsible for economy, Stephane Boyer, pointed out that municipal laws ordinarily prohibit any kind of temporary set up on private or public land. He believes this pilot project could help contribute to the economic recovery of Laval’s businesses. 

The project will be in effect in Laval until the end of physical distancing rules or until Nov. 30 – whichever comes first. 

On Tuesday, Canada's Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo said the recent increase in COVID-19 cases has been attributed to bars and restaurants as well as parties in indoor spaces. He said local authorities will have to decide whether bars and restaurants should remain open.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2020.