Toronto City Council approved several new safety restrictions for bars and restaurants to fight coronavirus spread on Wednesday, while also pledging to look at ways eateries can extend their patio season through the winter.
Starting October 8, there will be a few new rules for going out to eat or drink in the city.
The number of patrons 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.
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.
“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.
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At the same meeting, City Council also approved a request from Mayor John Tory to explore ways the city can support restaurants and bars to keep their patios open through the winter months.
“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,” Tory said.
Although bars and restaurants remain open, the City recommends people try to limit contact with those outside their household as much as possible. When meeting with someone you don’t live with, the City advises keeping a two-metre distance as much as possible. If that distance is too difficult, the City recommends both people wear masks, especially in indoor settings.