Jun 08, 2020

By Gavin Day

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Restaurants and bars hard-hit by closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic are hoping patio season will bring a revival in their fortunes and the provincial government is given them their support.

File:Patio season returns to Toronto.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Licensed establishments will be allowed to set up a new patio or expand an existing patio without paying a fee.

It won’t take effect, however, until bars and restaurants are allowed to fully reopen for business. Details on when that could happen are expected on Monday when Premier Doug Ford announces the outline for stage two of reopening in the province.

Attorney General Doug Downey says the relaxed measures give business owners the chance to prepare so that they’re ready the second they have the green light.

“They point in time I was working towards was patio season,” Downey told CP24 on Monday morning. “We want to have these tools in place. The one thing I’ve heard is ‘give us some lead time. Let us know what’s coming so that we can get ready.'”

Mayor John Tory says the city wants to make it as easy as possible for businesses to add or expand patio space.

Physical distancing will be a priority for these spaces but they could be a big help in getting the food and drink industry back on its feet.

“We’re going to try and make it simple in terms of the application process,” Tory told CP24. “It’s going to not only be important for peoples’ enjoyment of the summer but also the survival of these businesses which have been struggling so much to stay afloat during the shutdown period.”

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