VICTORIA -- The Empress Hotel in downtown Victoria is set to reopen Friday, and so will its outdoor veranda for sit-down dining.

The veranda at the Fairmont Empress will be open daily for lunch, dinner and cocktails starting June 26.

An expanded patio area is also being added below the veranda to accommodate more outdoor seating, in compliance with physical distancing guidelines.

Added safety measures on the veranda also include newly installed glass partitions that separate seating areas and help protect against the wind.

Starting next week, the Empress will also open up its lawns for outdoor picnic dining.

Beginning Saturday, July 4, the hotel will launch a new “Lunch on the Lawn” picnic service across a set number of locations.

“We are creating these very special little tables on picnic blankets with pillows,” said Tracey Drake, director of marketing and public relations for the Empress.

The new service includes a picnic basket with optional champagne and the ability to order drinks to your blanket at your special picnic spot.

“We are really excited to announce the Fairmont Empress is opening this Friday, June 26,” said Drake.

“We are really happy to be part of our community once again. We have been closed since the end of March,” she said.

Facilities inside of the hotel are open to anyone staying at the Empress. Meanwhile the Tea room and Q at the Empress bar will be open to the public for lunch, dinner and drinks.