Province implements shortcut so restaurants can create patios in mere days

Jul 3 2020, 6:51 am

The provincial government has implemented a shortcut that will allow restaurants to create and extend patios, and other covered outdoor dining areas, much faster than before.

Through the issuance of one new emergency order and amending another under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, municipalities will be able to quickly pass temporary bylaws for the creation and extension of the above dining environments.

The decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health to keep the people of Ontario safe as the province continues to recover and resume activities as part of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening the Province.

“Businesses across the province are demonstrating that we can still enjoy our beautiful Ontario summer while protecting the health and safety of their patrons,” Premier Doug Ford said in a release.

“Restaurants and bars are an important part of our economy, and a great driver of employment. I am proud to say that we will continue to support them as our province reopens and recovers.”

Typically, under the Planning Act, the process to pass temporary use bylaws to create or extend a patio could take several weeks or more.

Considering restaurants are currently only permitted to host dine-in guests on outdoor patios under Stage 2, this exemption under the emergency order will cut red tape and reduce the processing time to a matter of days.

Municipalities would still be responsible for compliance activities and ensuring proper physical distancing, among other health and safety practices.

The government also amended an emergency order to clarify that outdoor dining areas can open if they have a roof, canopy, tent, awning, or other covering.

Two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors, at least, and must not be substantially blocked in any way. If the outdoor dining area has a retractable roof, the roof must be fully open with at least one full side open to the outdoors, and, again, must not be substantially blocked in any way.

Both moves taken by the Province are in alignment with Mayor John Tory’s goal to make patio spaces easier for local restaurants to implement, per his announcements earlier this season, and the development of CafeTO.

If a new business licence is needed for restaurants in Toronto, owners can email [email protected] for a contact-free licence application process.

More information on business licensing and application requirements is available here, and guidelines for restaurants can be found here.

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