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Early morning restaurant visits usually mean a coffee, a piece of toast, or maybe even cereal for breakfast. Starting Sunday, you'll have the chance to crack open a cold one while the rest of the city is yet to begin waking up.
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced in a press release on Friday that liquor sales by licensed businesses will be permitted to start at 7 a.m. for the duration of the FIFA World Cup being held in Qatar. The extended hours will start Sunday as hosts Qatar play Ecuador and will be in effect till the final on Dec. 18.
Due to the World Cup being held in a country that is eight hours ahead of Toronto, many of the matches will be broadcasted in Canada in the wee hours of the morning, as early as 5 a.m. The AGCO extension will allow the licensed businesses to serve alcohol at a time that is better aligned with the times for the kickoff.
Keep in mind that even with this extension, the closing service time of 2 a.m. will remain unchanged. Also, the extension of hours does not apply to a by-the-glass endorsement on a Manufacturer's License and so regular hours of 9 a.m. to midnight remain unchanged for that type of license.
Now, this extension is by no means an enforcement. Whether or not the business decides to serve alcohol starting at 7 a.m. is an individual decision. But given that the FIFA World Cup is the world's largest and most-watched sporting event, extending alcohol sales might be the smartest move, given that the establishment can afford it.
"The restaurant industry is a vital part of Toronto's economy. We must continue to do everything we can to ensure these businesses and all the jobs they support come back stronger than ever from the COVID-19 pandemic," Mayor John Tory said in a press release. "I strongly support the move to extend liquor sale hours during the World Cup, helping to ensure that there are fans in seats as early as possible, cheering on their teams and supporting local businesses."
Given how immigrants account for nearly half of Toronto's population, people from all over the world will be supporting their favourite countries in the FIFA World Cup 2022 while sitting in the city. With Canada qualifying for the competition after a 36-year drought since its first and only participation in 1986, there will be a LOT of vested interest from the locals also.
So whether you're rooting for Canada, Argentina, Portugal, Spain, France, or any of the 32 nations competing, you'll have a place to sit down, have a cold one, and enjoy the game amid like-minded company. With the given extension of sale hours, the restaurants are bound to have a really strong month in terms of alcohol sales, for beer loves football and vice versa.
The AGCO's extension of alcohol-selling hours will be in effect from the first game on Sunday until the final on Dec. 18.