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CaféTO plan creates more space for outdoor dining



TORONTO, ON., June 4, 2020 — Today, Mayor John Tory announced the launch of CaféTO, a quick-start program intended to make it easier for restaurant and bar owners to open patios, to expand them, and to access additional space for physical distancing and for that matter revenue generation during the summer months ahead.

The City says the program will provide more outdoor dining areas by identifying space in the public right-of-way and expediting the current application and permitting process for sidewalk cafés and parklets.

Expanded temporary patios have been installed each spring for several years along Lakeshore Road in Port Credit. The patios extend across the sidewalks, and boardwalks in curb lanes enable pedestrians to navigate around them. Expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing in Toronto as the City implements CaféTO.
photo by Port Credit BIA via Instagram

Villages like Port Credit in Mississauga, which is a designated tourist area have been expanding patios across sidewalks for years, creating larger spaces for dining by extending temporary public boardwalks into curb lanes to enable pedestrians to safely navigate around the patios.

“We are doing everything we can to help residents and businesses get through this terrible time,” said Mayor John Tory. “CaféTO is one more example of a quick-start program that will bring vibrancy back to our main streets and help our hospitality industry and all those who rely on it. I am so proud of the work that has been done with wartime speed in the last few weeks by so many City divisions. They have responded to my commitment to help this entire industry – to give businesses the best conditions to be back in business and to stay in business as we reopen, and to keep thousands of Toronto residents employed in the process.”

Right now, restaurants and bars along with their patios remain closed due to provincial orders and public health recommendations. City staff are getting ready now so that we can act quickly to help restaurants and bars.

Significant work has already taken place including:

  • Creating a cross-divisional action team to oversee the program quickly and efficiently.
  • Conducting a review of a number of current requirements and determining how the City can better support businesses, including waiving patio fees which would otherwise be levied on expanded space so as to help struggling businesses.
  • Undertaking planning for reallocation of curb lanes for patios to maximize space and further help the industry.
  • Consulting with BIAs and other key stakeholders including TABIA and restaurant industry associations to help coordinate this important economic rescue initiative. They will be key to ensuring restaurants in appropriate locations across the city can sign up quickly for expanded space.
  • Establishing the essential café placements guidelines that will ensure these patios can be operational as soon as possible after they are permitted.

A key feature of CaféTO will be to allow businesses to establish options for café configurations within the right-of-way and in accordance with public health guidelines. This may potentially include waiving regular permit and application fees in order to install the cafes.

The City says it plans to provide local restaurant/bar owners with a set of guidelines for the installation of a temporary sidewalk café or curb lane café. A registration process for businesses to sign up for CaféTO will be communicated to business owners when finalized. The City says it will also work with business owners to understand enforcement, accessibility and cleaning requirements, and how to maintain physical distancing, within the space, to keep customers and employees safe.

More information will be available next week on toronto.ca/cafeto.

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