patio open toronto

Toronto mayor says hundreds of new patios could open by Canada Day

Toronto is officially in Stage 2 of reopening its economy as of today, and that means restaurants across the city are now free to welcome customers onto their patios. 

But for restaurants that don't have one or whose patio is too small to allow for social distancing, there's CaféTO: the city's plan to provide more outdoor dining areas to help restaurants and bars create physical distancing for patrons on patios during the summer months. 

The plan allows businesses to sign up for a permit to either create a new patio or expand one already in existence using public space (sidewalks, curb lanes, etc.), but without the regular fees and lengthy process. 

When CaféTO was first announced, Mayor John Tory said he hoped the first new patios would be up and running by the first week of July, as long as Toronto was allowed to enter Stage 2 by that point.

And in an interview with CP24 this morning, Tory confirmed that hundreds of these new or expanded patios will likely be operational by Canada Day. 

The plan is still subject to city council approval next week, but Tory said they've already received roughly 200 applications from businesses throughout the city thus far.

"I think it is great. It is the objective we wanted," he said during the interview.

"We wanted to both create a different kind of experience this summer after the long spring and winter we had, but also to help businesses by having some additional capacity outside while we are in a situation that it is basically patios only open for the time being."

The CaféTO plan will be up for consideration at the city council meeting on June 29, but businesses can already register online to be approved for a new or expanded patio. 

Any restaurants that want to install a Small Frontage Café (single line of seating directly in front of a business) are not required to register for the program, and should instead refer to the new CaféTO Placement Guidebook for installation requirements.

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