patios open in toronto

These are the rules for bar and restaurant patios to reopen in Toronto

Patio season is upon us and bars and restaurant in Toronto have begun preparing to allow patrons to soak up some sun under the city's new guidelines for reopening patio service when it's deemed safe to do so.

Restaurants and bars have been given permission to extend their patios under the CaféTO program to allow for more physical distancing. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission has also given their full approval.

Toronto has also released a document that outlines what food establishments need to do before and after they reopen, and the section on patios outlines how they can implement the new health and safety measures meant to slow the spread of the virus.

What restaurants and bars should do once they reopen their patios

The city has said that "restaurants are encouraged to provide patios wherever feasible as they "provide conditions which inhibit the survival and spread of the COVID-19 virus." Some of the protocols for reopening them include: 

  • Patio must be open to the air; no tents, structures or canopies. Umbrellas are allowed for sun shade.
  • The required distance between adjacent edges of tables is the same as for indoor dining: two metres.
  • Temporary table dividers may be installed to make physical distancing easier for restaurants with communal seating or larger tables.
  • Groups must be seated two metres from another group.
  • Ensure that a distance of two metres is maintained between customers or groups that are together. Co-mingling should be avoided.
  • Limit the time servers spend within two metres of customers.
  • Allow space for the safe circulation of customers and staff.
  • Consider a reservation system to avoid lines of waiting customers.
  • Ensure that lines of waiting customers do not come close to patio customers.
  • Demarcate floors with markers for any areas where a line-up may occur.
  • Mark the direction of travel to designate entrances and exits, pick up areas and washrooms.
  • Post signage promoting physical distancing upon entry.
  • Where dine-in is permitted, in the event of rainfall, customers may move indoors only to the extent that the total number of customers indoors does not exceed the limits described above.

The Ontario government has outlined details regarding Stage 2 of reopening the economy and so far bars and restaurants are not allowed to reopen dine-in or patio service in Toronto.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasuqez


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