stage 3 toronto

Toronto to officially implement additional safety rules for bars and restaurants in Stage 3

Toronto is officially moving into Stage 3 of reopening this Friday, but it seems businesses and residents within the city will have to follow a few extra rules in addition to the province's guidelines

The city has been advocating for additional safety measures to be introduced in Stage 3 because Toronto faces a unique set of challenges thanks to its size and density, and Mayor John Tory's motion to introduce these rules carried at city council just moments ago.

Most of these measures are specific to bars and restaurants and will require that all those who operate these kinds of businesses ensure that patrons remain seated at all times unless they're going to or from the washroom or paying.

The number of customers permitted inside the establishment at any one time is also limited so people can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the venue.

The new measures also indicate that regardless of the size of the space, there should never be more than 100 people indoors at one time.

Tables will also have a maximum capacity of no more than 10 people (indoors and outdoors), business owners will be required to keep customer logs with personal information to enable contact tracing, and staff will be subject to COVID-19 screening before each shift. 

Chapter 545, Licensing, of the City of Toronto Municipal Code will be amended to allow for these temporary provisions, and they'll apply in venues including adult entertainment clubs, billiard halls, eating or drinking establishments, entertainment establishments/nightclubs or places of amusement. 

"The measures approved by City Council include new requirements for bars and restaurants, which will open for indoor dining as part of Stage 3. As bars and restaurants have been linked to new outbreaks in other cities, Toronto is proceeding with caution in order to try to make indoor dining as safe as possible," said Toronto Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy in a statement.

In addition to these new rules, city council has also voted to introduce a temporary bylaw requiring the use of masks in all common areas of condo and apartment buildings, including lobbies, elevators, laundry rooms and more.

Owners or operators of apartment buildings and condominium corporations will be required to have mask policies in place as a result of the new bylaw, though there will appropriate exemptions for individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons, children under two years old, and other reasonable accommodations.

The city has also voted to extend the bylaw which requires physical distancing to be maintained in all parks and public squares. 

"Getting to Stage 3 is an important achievement for our city, and was only possible thanks to the commitment and dedication of residents across Toronto. However, we need to remember that our work is not over yet. COVID-19 continues to pose a significant risk until there is a widely-available treatment or vaccine," said Cressy.

"Increasingly, Toronto Public Health data shows that COVID-19 is exposing the deep inequalities present in our city, as this virus is disproportionately impacting people with lower incomes, who are racialized or visible minorities that live in overcrowded housing and work in front-line and/or precarious workplaces.

These are the people that we have to keep in mind as we cautiously move forward into the next stage of this pandemic."

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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