Toronto Mayor John Tory said on Wednesday day that the city wants to make it easier on its troubled restaurant industry by allowing for "more flexibility" for outdoor dining during the coming winter months.
"We need to give businesses the flexibility to operate where safe and possible through the winter months. While we have some limitations with respect to patios in curb lanes and ensuring we can safely clear our roads from the snow, there are opportunities that allow us to continue the success of patios through the winter in areas, such as sidewalks and private property including parking lots," said Tory in a press conference.
Right now, cities in Ontario such as Toronto are required to take their patios down before the first snowfall if said patios are located in curb lanes.
According to CP24, Tory's measures would extend the "CafeTO" program, which also waives the normal patio fees, to be extended until April 14 of next year.
Some restaurant owners have mentioned that outdoor patios aren't much help as they are too costly to operate in the winter months, but Tory replied saying he hopes it helps at least some of them.
“(It’s) just to give restaurateurs the opportunity when they are so hard hit to offer people a place to go and it will be heated.”
“It won't be exactly like room temperature necessarily but I think a lot of people in the right places at the right times might take advantage of it and help their restaurants and bars at the same time.”
“I'd love to see somebody try those bubbles that we see in New York and other places. The Bentway park underneath the Gardiner tried it last year... so it is anything like that.”
“And it’s obviously subject to some safety inspections to make sure that they are safe in terms of the context of heaters and what not.”
“We are just trying to make it easy for them in every respect we can to do a bit more business with the indoor dining closed for now and with some people being nervous about indoor dining even when it opens in a couple of weeks.”
Indoor dining had previously returned to Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa, but a jump in new transmissions of the novel coronavirus triggered restrictions to be put in place again.