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Several restaurants across southern Ontario have begun to enforce a strict locals-only indoor dining policy to curb the spread of COVID-19 further. With the Ford government once again implementing tighter restrictions around the number of people who can occupy indoor public spaces in Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa, some people from these regions have resorted to travelling outside of their home cities in an attempt to cheat the system and enjoy indoor dining where it has not yet been suspended.
Restaurants in cities like Stratford and St. Catharines have had to turn away guests who could not present valid local identification and have occasionally dealt with disgruntled patrons demanding service. "We have people who throw up their hands and storm out, we have people who swear at the staff, but those people are merely showing we made the right decision to ask those questions," said Jessie Votary, owner of Ramshackle Industries, which manages four restaurants and bars in the Stratford area.
The measures were set in place amid a looming and predicted second wave, which resulted in a recent 28-day shutdown of indoor dining service in the previously mentioned regions. Many restaurants must plan for a difficult winter season, while others have been fortunate to offer heated patio service. Let's hope that at least some makeshift curbside seating areas are allowed to install heaters and stay in operation throughout the colder months.