The City of Toronto has announced a program that will make it easier for restaurants and bars to open new outdoor dining spaces, as well as expand their existing ones.
Mayor John Tory shared the news of CaféTO‘s launch on Thursday morning. The program will allow businesses to temporarily operate in public spaces that are not normally permitted for patio use, like sidewalks, streets and parkettes.
CaféTO aims to offer restaurants and bars more potential space in which to serve their customers, so they can create physical distancing without dramatically decreasing their occupancy.
Dining rooms have been closed for almost three months amid the pandemic, threatening the survival of Toronto’s restaurant industry.
CaféTO hopes to help struggling restaurants and bars boost their revenues by providing extra space to serve as many customers as safely as possible, once dining rooms are allowed to reopen.
Tory has said the new program will also include an expedited application process for businesses seeking to open new patios, as well as the possible waiver of associated fees.
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Toronto will begin preparing to launch CaféTO, even though an official reopening date for restaurants and bars has yet to be announced.
The news follows another encouraging announcement yesterday that permitted street food vendors, food trucks, and ice cream trucks to reopen.
A news release from the City of Toronto states that these operators will be required to adhere to physical distancing, and customers are asked to keep a two-metre distance between one another when lining up at vendors.
Premier Ford has said there’s a possibility that restaurant patios may be part of stage two of reopening; however, this is mainly being considered as part of a “regional reopening” strategy.
This would likely mean that the GTA, which has reported a significantly larger number of COVID-19 cases than the rest of the province, will have to wait the longest for restaurant patios to reopen.
According to the City of Toronto website, a registration process will soon be shared that will allow businesses to begin signing up for CaféTO in preparation for reopening.