Ontario is temporarily loosening rules around patio spaces to allow for temporary extensions and create new outdoor spaces.
“This action will help support hospitality sector workers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak,” the AGCO said.
The move follows the announcement by Toronto officials of a new program called CafeTO, which will oversee the creation of patio and sidewalk cafe spaces on public and private grounds in order to allow restaurants to reopen while still keeping distancing measures in place.
“Licensed establishments may create a patio adjacent to their premise or increase the size of their patio once they are permitted to welcome patrons on-site,” the AGCO wrote in a statement.
“This temporary measure will allow the public to safely enjoy service that meets social distancing requirements and other public health guidelines.”
The AGCO will be waiving its licensing applications and fees; however, establishments will have to secure city approval for the space and “meet all other applicable requirements”.
The rules will be in effect until the early morning hours of January 1.
Additionally, liquor manufacturers are getting a break on the location of on-site restaurants and bars, known as a “tied house” in liquor licensing parlance.
From now on, those restaurants and bars no longer have to be located on the manufacturing site itself, but “may be located anywhere at the same municipal or property address as the manufacturing site”.
Ontario premier Doug Ford is expected to unveil a timeline for the province’s restaurants to reopen today. Last week, city staff last week a list of guidelines for reopening restaurants that included allowing no more than 50 per cent of full capacity, adding sanitation measures like Plexiglas dividers, and banning live music.