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Province making it easier for bars, restaurants to expand patio space

Last Updated Jul 3, 2020 at 9:27 am EDT

The rooftop patio at the Broadview Hotel is photographed on Aug. 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The Ford government is helping restaurant and bar owners expand their patios faster ahead of a planned Stage 3 reopening.

The government issued a new emergency order while amending another one in order to allow municipalities to quickly pass temporary bylaws to allow the creation and extension of patios and covered outdoor dining areas.

“Under the Planning Act, the process to pass temporary use bylaws to create or extend a patio could take several weeks or more,” the government said in a statement. “As restaurants are currently only permitted to host dine-in guests on outdoor patios under Stage 2, this exemption under the emergency order will cut red tape and reduce the process time for passing these bylaws to a matter of days.”

The City of Toronto recently approved the CafeTO plan which allows restaurants to open makeshift patios as of Canada Day.

The project directs the City to take quick action and make way for additional safe outdoor dining spaces for local restaurants and bars which includes creating or expanding patios onto sidewalks and into curblanes and adjacent parking lots.

Mayor John Tory said the City has approved more than 400 applications.

The province also amended an emergency order clarifying what constitutes an outdoor dining area.

Outdoor dining areas can open if they have a “roof, canopy, tent, awning or other covering” and at least two full sides “must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way.”

If the outdoor dining area has a retractable roof, it must be “fully open and at least one full side must be open to the outdoors.”