st lawrence market toronto

St. Lawrence Market no longer permitting indoor dining due to vaccination proof requirements

Indoor dining is being suspended until further notice at Toronto's famous St. Lawrence Market due to vaccine passport requirements.

"To avoid closing all the entrances and screening each customer that comes into the Market, the indoor seating will be removed until further notice," reads an announcement the market posted to social media.

"Outdoor picnic tables will continue to be available for people who wish to eat and drink outside."

St. Lawrence Market is known for its diverse array of local vendors, from sandwich spots like Carousel Bakery to produce stalls like Family Foods.

Though you won't be able to dine indoors at any St. Lawrence Market seating, you'll still be able to shop without proof of vaccination.

Grocery stores count as essential businesses and don't require proof of vaccination for entry, but St. Lawrence Market is a unique hybrid establishment that people come to for various reasons.

"The indoor dining areas at the St. Lawrence Market are predominately in common areas and there is not a defined area for indoor dining with the exception of one full service restaurant, Paddington's Pump," St. Lawrence Market spokesperson Samantha Wiles tells blogTO.

"For this reason the challenge for indoor dining in St. Lawrence Market is how to enforce the vaccine certificate when the majority of customers at the Market will not be planning to dine indoors. A customer may come to the Market to shop and not intend to dine in, but decide to during their visit, for example."

This means the Market would have to screen everyone entering the market for proof of vaccination despite their original reason for visiting to ensure compliance with the certificate policy.

Instead, they decided to eliminate indoor dining and have the market open for grocery shopping and takeout only. Paddington's Pump is still operating indoor dining in their own dedicated dining room.

During an average Saturday during the pandemic, St. Lawrence Market has still been seeing about 8,000 to 10,000 visitors over the course of the day, so screening all of them would be a huge undertaking.

"The market would consider reopening indoor dining in the future depending on the regulations and requirement at that time," says Wiles.

"If proof of vaccination continues to be required for indoor dining the market could look to find an area to designate for indoor dining in order to facilitate screening, however available space for indoor dining in one area at physical distance is very limited in the building."

The area would have to be sectioned off and monitored by security at all times, contained to one spot as opposed to the dining areas that are currently spread throughout the market.

"The market would only reopen indoor dining if they could ensure that vaccinate certificate enforcement was manageable," says Wiles.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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