Despite the province-wide ban on outdoor dining, the City of Toronto will begin installing the first CaféTO patios of the year today.
Over the next two days, crews will set up safety equipment, such as concrete barriers and large barrels, at 73 locations, which the City noted will support 105 restaurants.
Fourteen of the curb lane cafés scheduled for installation this weekend will be set up along Ossington Avenue, the most in any one Business Improvement Area (BIA).
Although the patios cannot currently be used, the City said it was moving ahead with the installations so that there is no delay once outdoor dining is permitted.
The City said its decision was based on the “significant impacts” felt by the restaurant and bar industry, and was made in consultation with Toronto Public Health.
Once the curb lane patios have been installed, restaurant operators must ensure that the areas are not used by the public while the Stay-at-Home order is in place.
“The CaféTO program is very popular and there is enormous demand for the expanded outdoor dining space it can provide restaurants,” Mayor John Tory said.
“Restaurant owners can be confident that this outdoor space will be ready for them to safely welcome customers as soon as health orders allow.”
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According to the City, the CaféTO program will support more than 1,000 restaurants with expanded outdoor dining options this summer.
To date, approximately 800 restaurants have been approved for the curb lane cafés and another 325 have been approved for sidewalk cafés.
Crews will continue installing curb lane cafés throughout the coming weeks, both overnight and during the day.
CaféTO was launched in 2020 to support the city’s bars and restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 897 restaurants participated in the program’s initial season, which saw nearly 1,000 metres of roadway transformed into outdoor dining space.