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Toronto's restaurant and bar owners will be delighted to hear that Ontario has extended its last call to 2 a.m. after months of shutdowns and restrictions.
These long-awaited changes come after months of restrictions imposed by the provincial government and petitions urging for a return to normal operations. Three days ahead of schedule, Ontario announced that the province would enter the first step of its three-step roadmap to reopening this Friday, June 11. In accordance with the requirements of the Liquor License Act of Ontario, restaurant patios can serve alcohol during their regular business hours.
As confirmed by Travis Kann, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Communications, and Ivana Yelich, Executive Director of Media Relations for Premier Doug Ford, no additional restrictions on hours will be in place. For restaurant and bar owners, this means that they can serve and sell liquor between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. any day of the week.
With all of the uncertainty during the city's slew of lockdowns, Adam Slight, the general manager of Paupers Pub, decided to speak up, urging for a later last call. By creating a shareable form that restaurant and hospitality workers could sign and send to their local MPP, Slight took action.
Now, after months of hard work, the wait is over. The good news is finally here for restaurant owners like Slight, who have been persistent in pushing for a later last call.
Despite the fact that indoor dining is still prohibited, and patios are subject to licensing requirements and safety guidelines such as setting tables at least two meters apart, constructing impermeable barriers, and limiting the number of people at a table to four people, restaurant owners remain optimistic.
"It feels different this time. Although I am still cautious, I can't help but feel more hopeful than before," says Slight.
And these changes are not just benefiting restaurant owners. As Slight explains, hospitality workers and employees are finally able to reclaim their old lives after months of unemployment.
"Our team at Paupers Pub is enthusiastic about the future. Finally, I feel confident that I can start inspiring my team to return to the way things were, supporting the growth of the city as it moves forward."