This is what opening weekend on King West was like as Toronto entered Stage 3
Toronto officially entered Stage 3 of reopening on Friday, and that means bars and restaurants across the city were allowed to reopen for indoor dining with a number of safety rules in place.
Establishments were only given short notice when the Stage 3 announcement was made last week, so some opted to continue serving solely on their patio throughout the long weekend.
But many businesses on the city's busiest stretch of bars and restaurants, King Street West, jumped at the opportunity to welcome back even more clientele.
Popular bars such as Petty Cash, The Citizen, Arcane and Locals Only reopened their indoor spaces to customers on Friday, and, like most other recent weekends in Toronto, the city's party people filled King Street to celebrate the reopening.
Late at night, King West was packed with bar hoppers who couldn't wait to take advantage of the new rules and party — though even Toronto's mayor has acknowledged that alcohol consumption often leads to irresponsible behaviour and can result in letting safeguards slip.
Toronto enters Stage 3 and re-opens bars & restaurants on a long weekend. What could possibly go wrong?— Sue J ⚾️ (@Tigger7) July 31, 2020
Please, people, keep wearing your face coverings & social distancing. It will help save lives & hopefully keep us from having to backtrack. #COVID19 #COVID19Ontario
Many Toronto residents have expressed concerns about the decision to reopen bars and restaurants for indoor dining considering the constant crowding that has persisted since we entered Stage 2, especially on King Street West, and several bars had already been caught breaking the rules before patrons were even allowed inside.
"Mr. Mayor, if your team has some time on their hands you should head over to all the bars on King Street (west of Spadina). Loads of millennials wearing their masks as neck scrunchies, yelling in each others' faces over drinks!" wrote one concerned Torontonian on August 1, the day after Stage 3 began.
Last Friday, ahead of the long weekend, Mayor John Tory said bylaw officers would be out and about to issue warnings and fines if necessary in order to ensure safety measures remain in place throughout Stage 3, and he added that their presence would not just be triggered by complaints.
The city has not yet released data on whether or not tickets were issued to businesses or patrons for non-compliance over the weekend, but that information will likely be made public this week.
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