The City of Toronto will launch a CaféTO installation and expansion blitz tomorrow to rapidly increase outdoor dining space for local restaurants and bars during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CaféTO is a quick-start program that makes it easier for restaurant and bar owners to open patios, expand them and access additional space for physical distancing during the summer months ahead. The program provides 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 in accordance with public health guidelines.
Tomorrow’s CaféTO blitz will see City staff accelerate the installation of verified CafeTO applications across multiple BIAs. An increase in the number of streetscape-based curb lane closures will be seen across the city starting tomorrow and new installations will continue throughout the week. City staff continue to work with BIAs and the local business community to fast-track as many restaurant registrations and curb lane installations as possible; however, site-specific technical requirements may cause some delays.
Toronto City Council approved the CaféTO program on June 29. To date, 47 curb lane closures have been installed supporting 73 restaurants.
A cross-divisional action team from Toronto Public Health, Transportation Services, Economic Development, Municipal Licensing and Standards, City Planning and Strategic Communications has been overseeing the development and implementation of the CaféTO program. Members of the group have been working closely with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), restaurant associations and other key stakeholders to urgently navigate all possible considerations while anticipating issues.
On July 9, the City received a new Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) from the Province of Ontario that will help ease zoning restrictions on outdoor patios while allowing for expanded patios on private property, including parking areas.
The MZO, which will expire on November 16, provides more opportunity for restaurants and bars to respond to physical distancing requirements associated with the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing the amount of outdoor space for customers. It will allow more restaurants in Toronto to use more available outdoor space to generate revenue this summer.
Local restaurant operators interested in installing a new patio or expanding an existing patio on private property do not need to register for CaféTO but should familiarize themselves with the MZO, which is available at ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r20358.
Restaurants and bars can register for CaféTO using a simple online registration form available at toronto.ca/cafeto.
The full CaféTO staff report is available on the City’s website.
Sidewalk cafés and marketing displays bylaw (Chapter 742) is available online.
“We are doing everything we can as a municipal government to support restaurant and bar operators in the city following the COVID-19 shutdown, and this blitz is just one example of that effort. Restaurant and bar patios are an integral part of Toronto’s economy and supporting them during these challenging times is a top priority. I am thankful to City staff who have been working around the clock to make sure Torontonians can enjoy more outdoor dining spaces while they practise physical distancing.”
– Mayor John Tory
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