Bubbles, pods, and yurts: Tory addresses ingenuity of Toronto restaurants' outdoor spaces

Oct 26 2020, 12:55 pm

With indoor dining still closed in Toronto, bars and restaurants are getting creative with their offerings to keep customers comfortable this winter.

While Mayor John Tory says he admires the creativity of the city’s restaurateurs, their inventions can’t just be another form of indoor space.

The various tents, domes, and bubbles that have popped up across the city have caused some confusion about what constitutes indoor versus outdoor dining.

Mayor John Tory addressed the confusion at a COVID-19 press conference on Monday, telling reporters that he has discussed the need for clarification with Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

“You have the ingenuity of the private sector with bubbles and pods and yurts and so on, and I admire that ingenuity, which I in fact have been encouraging by getting out of the way to say we want you to try to find ways [to dine safely],” said Tory. “It shouldn’t be a way in which you create a new kind of indoor space. It has to be something outdoor within the context of proper ventilation.”

 

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Tory said the “Bible” for indoor dining rules is the provincial order that moved Toronto into a modified stage 2 earlier this month following spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Under stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan, indoor gathering limits apply to events that are fully or partially indoors. With Toronto in a modified stage 2 until at least November 6, access to indoor facilities is limited to patio and outdoor dining areas, food pickup, making payments, and washrooms.

Tory says he is working with both de Villa and Ford to prepare post-28-day scenarios for the city. At least one of the potential circumstances will see the city reopening all closed businesses following the 28-day period, he said.

There are 26,870 cases of COVID-19 in the city of Toronto, an increase of 300 new cases as of Monday.

Ontario recorded over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the largest single-day count since the pandemic began in March.

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