Ontario Extending Outdoor Patios to Allow for Social Distancing During COVID-19


TORONTO — The Ontario government will allow restaurants and bars to temporarily extend outdoor patio spaces to safely accommodate patrons and staff once licensed establishments are permitted to fully re-open for business.

As a result of a regulation change, licensed establishments can create a patio adjacent to their premise or increase the size of their patio once they are permitted to welcome patrons onsite. This temporary measure will allow the public to safely enjoy service that meets physical-distancing requirements and other public-health guidelines.

While the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will not require licensees to apply or pay a fee for these temporary extensions, licensed establishments must ensure they have municipal approval and meet all other applicable requirements. These measures will be in effect until Jan. 1, 2021 at 3:00 a.m.

“During this difficult period, we’re constantly looking for ways to be flexible with the hospitality sector, so when the time is right, they can open with the confidence that they will be able to keep customers and staff safe,” says Jean Major, registrar and CEO, AGCO. “By extending outdoor patio spaces, we hope it will help our licensed establishments get back on their feet more quickly.”

The province is also providing enhanced choice and flexibility to Ontario liquor manufacturers regarding the location of “tied houses,” which are the restaurants and bars located at wineries, breweries and distilleries. Effective immediately, tied houses are no longer required to be located on the manufacturing site itself, but may be located anywhere at the same municipal or property address as the manufacturing site.

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