dine in restaurants

These are the rules for restaurant dine-in service during Stage 3 in Ontario

The Ontario government announced yesterday that 24 of the province's 34 public health units are free to move on to Stage 3 of reopening as of this Friday, and that means bars and restaurants in those regions will be allowed to reopen for dine-in services. 

The 10 remaining regions (Toronto, York Region, Peel Region, Durham Region, Niagara, Windsor-Essex, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Hamilton and Lambton) will have to remain in Stage 2 for the time being and continue to offer seating on patios only, but restaurants in the rest of the province will get to reopen with a new set of health and safety rules in place. 

According to the newly released document titled A Framework for Reopening our Province: Stage 3, all restaurants, bars, concession stands, and other food and drink establishments may open for indoor dine-in service in this next stage.

Night clubs are not yet permitted to open, however, unless they are simply serving food or drinks to patrons and complying with the conditions that apply to restaurants and bars.

The framework states that all patrons must be seated when eating or drinking at an establishment, and businesses are required to take appropriate measures to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres between patrons from different tables, unless tables are separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

And while all restaurants are allowed to reopen for dine-in service in Stage 3, buffet-style service is not yet permitted. 

The same goes for private karaoke rooms, though karaoke outside of private rooms is permitted as long as barriers, physical distancing and increased cleaning and disinfecting are used.

"Singing or music may be performed by a person or group at the restaurant or bar, with restrictions, including barriers between the performers and patrons and physical distancing. Dancing may only be performed by someone working at the establishment with restrictions," reads the framework.

"Physical distancing of two metres between patrons from different households or social circles also continues to apply to food trucks, food courts, concession stands and tours, including tastings at wineries, breweries and distilleries."

And for those establishments waiting to get the go-ahead to reopen their indoor dining areas, the province says decisions on which regions will enter Stage 3 and when will be made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts based on trends of key public health indicators.

"Our success in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and getting Ontario to a place where we are ready to reopen most of the province is a testament to the hard work of business owners, individuals and families right across the province," said Premier Doug Ford in a news release published yesterday.

"So many have stepped up and played by the rules, demonstrating that we can restart our economy safely and responsibly. Small actions can make a big difference. Now more than ever, we must continue to follow the public health advice to preserve the progress we have made together."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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