Last call is being moved up to 9 p.m. for bars and restaurants in Toronto
If you're stoked to get back to partying when bars and clubs resume full (indoor) operations in Toronto next weekend, I've got some rather disappointing news for you by way of the provincial government.
Yes, indoor dining and drinking spaces will reopen in Toronto on November 14 after a 28-day-long emergency closure period.
Our city will be the last of four coronavirus hot spots to leave Ontario's "modified Stage 2" framework and enter a new, colour-coded restriction system meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 amid skyrocketing daily case counts.
Apparently — and perhaps for good reason — restricting the hours in which people can drink will help us control the pandemic.
Under the current rules, alcohol can only be sold until 11 p.m. and no booze can be consumed within a licensed facility after 12 a.m.
Sure, we can't go inside bars or anything, but we can drink on patios until midnight.
This will no longer be the case next weekend when Toronto enters the "Orange-Restrict" level of the new lockdown framework system and last call moves up to 9 p.m.
That's right: no more liquor sales after 9 p.m., with all alcohol onsite to be consumed by 10 p.m. sharp.
According to the province, restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments must close by 10 p.m. in public health regions under Orange restrictions.
"50 person indoor capacity limit. Limit operating hours, establishments close at 10 p.m. Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.," read the listed measures. "No consumption of liquor between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m."
In addition to current rules involving physical distancing (all tables must be two metres apart) and things like self-serve buffets (they're banned), several other new limits will be placed upon licensed establishments under Orange restrictions.
Starting next Saturday, bars and restaurants must screen patrons for symptoms of COVID-19, and only four people will be allowed to sit together at one table.
When we are deemed worthy of entering the less-restrictive "Yellow-Protect" zone, the table cap will once again be extended to six people and last call will go back to 11 p.m.
For a city that's used to either 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. last calls, with rather loose enforcement of consume-by-closure rules, 11 p.m. has been a tough enough pill to swallow on its own.
And please take note: This new last call applies not only to bars and restaurants, but casinos, cinemas, event spaces, performing art facilities and pretty much anywhere else you can legally buy and consume alcohol.
With bars closing at 10 p.m., we should start to see King West get wild right after work on weekdays soon.
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