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City to allow portable heaters on restaurant patios as fall approaches

Last Updated Sep 11, 2020 at 8:04 am EDT

Roadside restaurant seating are seen setup along Yonge Street in Toronto during the COVID-19 pandemic on July 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan
Summary

City said restaurants can use portable heating devices on outdoor patios, including sidewalks and curb lane cafés


Back in late June, city council voted to approve the CaféTO plan, which allowed restaurants to open makeshift patios


The CaféTO program is expected to end in late fall


The City of Toronto has announced plans to allow portable heaters on all outdoor patios, including those on the street, to help restaurants stretch out the summer season in fall.

Back in late June, city council voted to approve the CaféTO plan, which allowed restaurants to open makeshift patios starting on Canada Day. This extra space included creating or expanding patios onto sidewalks and into curblanes and adjacent parking lots.

The CaféTO program is expected to end in late fall, and on Friday, the City said it would now allow for portable heating devices including propane heaters to be used on outdoor patios, including sidewalks and curb lane cafés.

“With cooler fall weather approaching, the City of Toronto has announced plans to allow portable heaters to be placed in all outdoor patios, including CaféTO curb lane closures, to help keep outdoor dining spaces open longer and provide additional support for local restaurants,” the City said in a release.

“Allowing restaurant operators to safely introduce portable heaters will help make outdoor dining more appealing to customers, encourage physical distancing to help stop virus spread, and give restaurant operators the chance to maximize outdoor patio season and generate revenue.”

The City said safety guidelines by Toronto Fire Services will be available to patio and café operators on Friday.

“Locations will be monitored for safe use and enforced by City bylaw officers and Toronto Fire Services staff,” the City said.

In the past, restaurants had to fill out documents and applications before given the green light to put heaters on their patios.

“The new Fire Services’ guidelines streamline that process and the documentation is no longer required at this time.”