Ontario extending outdoor patios during COVID-19

WEST CARLETON – 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 reopen for business.

This action will help support hospitality sector workers and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“During this difficult period, we are 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,” Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) Registrar and CEO Jean Major said. “By extending outdoor patio spaces, we hope it will help our licensed establishments get back on their feet more quickly.”

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

While the 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 January 1, 2021 at 3 a.m.

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.