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Toronto CaféTO program supports more than 1,000 restaurants

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On Saturday, City of Toronto crews will began installing CaféTO curb lane locations in Business Improvement Areas (BIA) and non-BIAs across the city. The popular program initiated last year will support more than 1,000 restaurants this summer with expanded outdoor dining options in curb lanes and on sidewalks.

The City has already approved approximately 800 restaurants for curb lane café locations as well as 325 restaurants for sidewalk cafes, with more applications coming in daily. Installations were scheduled to begin today and are moving ahead as planned to ensure there will be no delay for participating CaféTO restaurants when outdoor dining is permitted.

Over the weekend, crews installed safety equipment such as concrete barriers, large safety barrels, and other important traffic safety equipment at 73 locations that will support 105 restaurants. Along Ossington Avenue, for example, there were 14 curb lane closures installed on Saturday, supporting 26 restaurants and one public parklet – this will be the most locations planned for installation this weekend in any one BIA. Crews will continue CaféTO curb lane installations over the coming weeks, both overnight and during the day.

So far this year beyond the BIA installations, there are 125 restaurants outside of BIAs approved for CaféTO and there is at least one CaféTO applicant from 70 different BIAs in Toronto. As well, approximately 30 per cent of restaurants requesting curb lane cafés are new program participants that did not have a curb lane café in 2020.

CaféTO curb lane locations provide expanded outdoor dining space by reallocating the public right-of-way on Toronto streets for use by restaurants and bars that have registered and been approved for the program.

Outdoor dining continues to be prohibited in Toronto while the Province of Ontario Stay-at-Home order remains in effect. The decision to move forward with the installation schedule was made in consultation with Toronto Public Health and with careful consideration given to the significant impacts felt by the restaurant and bar industry.

Once curb lane locations are installed, restaurant operators must ensure that the areas are not used for congregation, public seating or dining purposes while outdoor dining remains prohibited and the provincial Stay-at-Home order is in place.

The City also says that more installations, coinciding with additional registration periods, are planned throughout the spring and into the summer.

When provincial orders allow for outdoor dining, registered and approved operators will be permitted to setup safe and accessible sidewalk cafés as soon as possible.

CaféTO is a City of Toronto COVID-19 response program that was launched last summer to provide urgent help to local restaurants and bars. When outdoor dining was permitted, CaféTO helped hundreds of restaurant and bar operators by making it easier to open patios in curb lanes and along sidewalks, expand them as needed and access additional space for physical distancing. The space helped operators generate revenue and enliven nearby public spaces.

Restaurant operators are encouraged to add their restaurant to Destination Toronto’s ToGoToronto.com, a free listing of more than 700 Toronto restaurants that are open for safe takeout, delivery and patios as public health restrictions allow. The platform was created by Destination Toronto in partnership with the City to support the economic recovery of the restaurant community. Learn more at togotoronto.com/ .

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