New coronavirus restrictions for Toronto bars and restaurants start today

Oct 8 2020, 6:52 am

New coronavirus restrictions begin today for Toronto bars and restaurants to help stop the spread of the virus.

The new restrictions means that the number of guests inside any restaurant or bar will be limited to 75 at a time, down from 100. Staff will also need to collect contact information for every customer, not just one person from each party.

And only six people will be allowed per table, down from the current limit of 10.

Restaurants and bars will also have to turn down background music to the “volume of a normal conversation” to discourage patrons from leaning in closer to hear each other.

These new temporary bylaws were adopted on recommendation from Toronto Public Health and passed unanimously by City Council on September 30.

“The recent spike in cases that we’re seeing is concerning and we must take this seriously,” Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, said at the time.

The City is also trying to develop new ways to support the industry through the winter months, like using heaters on patios, to prolong dining outdoors.

“City staff are going to work with food and drink establishments to pivot operations and open winter patios while we work with the Province to extend Regulation 719, freeze insurance rates on restaurants, and continue the pause on commercial evictions,”  Mayor John Tory said at the time.

Last week, de Villa said that 44% of COVID-19 outbreaks are linked to bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues, which is why she’s calling for indoor dining to be closed temporarily.

The province is still reviewing her request.

Clarrie FeinsteinClarrie Feinstein

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