MONTREAL -- Downtown Montreal may see a lot more terrasses this summer.

Mayor Valerie Plante announced new rules today that she says will simplify things for restaurants, bars and cafes and reduce the financial burden on operators.

"Price going down is huge," said Plante, who estimates it will save businesses tens of thousands of dollars. "I would like us to keep in mind that we rarely see the city say: 'Okay. Now it's going to cost you less for a terrasse or for a measure like that.'"

Plante said businesses will save from $500 to $30,000 on terrasse permits depending on the size, and there are also provisions to offset tax increases on property values by lowering taxes on terrasses from 9.5 to 4 per cent.

Parisian-style cafe terrasses with chairs and tables at the foot of the facade will now be free, but businesses must apply for the permit.

Some rules still apply. They cannot be attached to the building, there must be at least six feet of space on the sidewalk between the facade and the mini terrasses and there can only be a maximum of three tables and 12 chairs.

In addition, there can be no alcohol sale on these terrasses.

The by-law is the result of the city's recent commission to help the crisis of vacant store fronts in the city.