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Mayor John Tory just announced that restaurants and bars may be allowed to extend their patios to abide by social distancing rules once they are allowed to reopen.
“COVID-19 is a deadly virus from a public health standpoint but it has also threatened the livelihood of many of our residents and many of our small businesses, none perhaps more so than the restaurant and bar industry and that in turn has threatened the well-being of our neighbourhoods,” Tory said. “We want to help give this industry the best conditions that we possibly can to help them get back in business and most importantly to stay in business.”
The extended patio program which he referred to as the CafeTO program will allow restaurants and bars to expand their patios into sidewalks and curb lanes. The establishments will be able to use this public space for larger patios so that patrons can be seated far apart for safety. This program will begin to roll-out once the provincial order prohibiting dine-in service is lifted.
It is still unclear when the timeline for patio reopening will be or when restaurants will be allowed to resume dine-in service but Tory said that the city wanted to act sooner so that the restaurants would be ready as soon as the order is lifted.
“I think not only could it provide us with a source of more enjoyment this summer after all we have been through this winter and spring but also I think that it could be a lifeline for some of the restaurants, especially in light of the fact that they will probably be required to have tables further apart inside and outside,” Tory said in an earlier press conference.
“Helping our restaurant industry survive and reopen is an important role the city government can play," he said of the industry and his desire to help businesses get back on their feet.