toronto patios

Toronto asks province to allow patio dining even in grey zone regions

Having brunch and cocktails on a patio again could be coming to Toronto sooner than anyone expected.

In Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing broadcast by the City of Toronto, Mayor John Tory said that both Toronto and Peel are asking for modifications to the grey zone framework designations that would allow for outdoor patio dining and outdoor exercise.

"While I've always understood the need for a framework with some established parameters, this is a big diverse province and this is a big diverse city. Different in many ways than others," Tory said during the briefing.

"We know that to continue to fight the virus, we have to maintain many measures but we also know that those restrictions must make sense and must reflect reality as we find it."

The city having experience with safe outdoor dining from last year, and a recent precedent set as rules were changed to accomodate places of worship, are just some of the reasons why the city is asking for guidelines to be modified further.

"After a long lockdown with warmer weather coming, vaccines being distributed, and regions around us with fewer restrictions, public health officials are recommending some modifications to the grey zone based on all these considerations led by the data," Tory explained.

The modifications would allow for Toronto and Peel to keep residents safe with the strict restrictions imposed on grey zone regions while also allowing for local restaurants to gain some much needed business.

Over the previous year, Toronto has lost countless small businesses as a result of the lockdown. Allowing patio dining could not only save a few beloved local hot spots, but also gives residents a chance to enjoy the warm springtime weather while avoiding COVID fatigue from being stuck indoors.

Tory was adamant that people understand these are simply ongoing talks and that nothing is finalized at this point. No one should start making changes or plans to go out for dinner right now, but the city wants people to be aware these discussions are taking place.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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