Today, Mayor John Tory confirmed the City of Toronto’s CaféTO curb lane installations will begin on Saturday, May 8, as planned to ensure there will be no delay for participating restaurants when outdoor dining is permitted again.
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. Installation of these locations takes time and requires crews, equipment and the preparation of detailed traffic plans. Installing these locations on schedule ensures that they will be immediately available to operators when public health orders permit outdoor dining.
Outdoor dining continues to be prohibited in Toronto right now while the city remains in shutdown under the provincial COVID-19 response framework. 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 over the next several weeks, 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.
At this time, 720 curb lane cafés and 71 public parklet locations are being reviewed for placement during the first phase of installation. More installations, coinciding with additional registration periods, are planned throughout the spring and into the summer. Hundreds more applications have been received in the latest registration period which ended yesterday.
In addition, when provincial orders allow for outdoor dining, operators who register and are approved for CaféTO 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.
In 2020, CaféTO supported a total of 801 restaurants in 62 BIAs, as well as 96 restaurants outside of BIAs. An additional 44 public parklets in BIAs were activated. The 439 curb lane closures converted 9,683 metres of traffic lanes into new outdoor dining space for restaurants.
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.
More details about CaféTO, including how to register.
“We know at some point, we will be able to reopen again and we want to make sure we are doing everything as a City to help businesses be ready to safely welcome customers at the earliest date possible. They need these extra outdoor seats to start earning back revenue lost during the pandemic. Keeping these installations on track in May will ensure that the street patios are ready to go in hundreds of locations when public health officials determine the measures can change and outdoor dining can be allowed again. We want to be ready so that restaurants and bars won’t have to wait for the installations and to accommodate the tremendous demand we have seen for CaféTO again this year.”
– Mayor John Tory
“CaféTO was a vitally important program for many restaurant operators in Toronto last summer, and it will be just as important and just as urgent this year for restaurants across the city, including downtown and in suburban areas. Traffic volumes remain significantly lower than normal and we need to be ready to support restaurant owners with street, sidewalk and parklet space as soon as health orders allow.”
– Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee
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