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Nightlife has officially returned in Toronto as bars and clubs see huge boost in sales

Ontario residents have now enjoyed nearly three weeks of Step 3 of the province's 3-Step Roadmap to Reopening, and with it the loosest public health restrictions we've had in months after stints of long-running, hellish and stringent pandemic lockdown.

Now that operations in a slew of sectors have greatly expanded to include things like indoor dining and 15,000-person events, business is indeed booming as people get out and about to enjoy their newfound freedom to eat, drink and socialize.

Many nightclubs and venues, some of which were forced to close permanently after being shuttered for the vast majority of the last 16 months, hit the ground running as soon as they were permitted to open their doors once more at 12:01 a.m. on June 16.

The same goes for bars and restaurants who eagerly welcomed guests for indoor service.

And based on data from Clover, a company behind POS systems for such businesses, customers have been very happy to get out, party and, ultimately, spend.

Compared to June 2021, spending at bars, restaurants and clubs in Toronto's five main entertainment districts was up a whopping 79 per cent last month, all thanks to the province's entry into the third and final step of reopening (with "a full opening with some public health measures, if appropriate" next on the horizon).

The busiest neighbourhood of those surveyed has been King and Queen west, where nightlife spending was up a staggering 117 per cent in July.

Little Italy and Yorkville have also been bustling, with evening crowds bringing in 100 per cent more cash in July than in June.

North Yonge Street and the Danforth also saw huge, albeit less dramatic sales boosts (of 61 and 43 per cent, respectively) as people repopulated their favourite dance floors and watering holes.

After having it so tough for so long, the hospitality industry and the local businesses in it certainly deserve the uptick in sales to get back on their feet again. And with tourism slated to ramp up starting in just a few days' time, this is certainly shaping up to be a banner summer for them.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at Black Dice

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