The City of Toronto is hoping to extend patio season with portable heaters.
On Friday, the city noted with cooler fall weather approaching portable heaters will be placed in all outdoor patios, including CaféTO curb lane closures, to help keep outdoor dining spaces open longer and provide additional support for local restaurants.
“We are doing everything we can to support our local restaurant industry. I heard this request from the restaurant industry and took action to help allow portable heaters to safely keep CaféTO installations and patios warm, even in late October and November, to help extend the season,” Mayor John Tory said in a release.
“I want to thank city staff for working to find a way to make this possible to help restaurants as much as we can right now.”
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According to the city, portable heating devices, including fire fuelled appliances like propane heaters, will be allowed on all outdoor patio types following guidelines for safe use developed by Toronto Fire Services.
The guidelines will be available to patio and café operators today, and “operators must follow them closely.”
“Locations will be monitored for safe use and enforced by city bylaw officers and Toronto Fire Services staff. Before, there were numerous documents and applications required for heaters on patios to be approved. The new Fire Services’ guidelines streamline that process and the documentation is no longer required at this time,” the release states.
Some examples of the guidelines include only using heaters that meet federal and provincial safety requirements, installing and storing units per the manufacturer’s instructions, and removing heaters from the curb lane when the café is not in use.
But, as per CaféTO safety and accessibility guidelines, tents and structures are still not permitted in curb lane closures.
The city’s CaféTO program supports more than 760 restaurants across Toronto with increased dining capacity. This includes over 400 curb lane closures and sidewalk cafes, occupying more than 9,000 metres of public right-of-way, as well as 44 parklets.
Toronto city council approved the CaféTO program on June 29.