Indoor dining restaurant

Here’s what you need to know as restaurants reopen for indoor dining on Friday

Ontario will move into step 3 of its reopening plan on Friday July 16, meaning the return of indoor dining (the first time in months). The following measures/restrictions will take place:

  • Indoor and outdoor dining with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres and other restrictions;
  • No limits on the number of people per table;
  • Buffets permitted.

Food and drink establishments with dance facilities (e.g., nightclubs) can also reopen on Friday, but indoor capacity must be limited to the number of people who can maintain a physical distance of two metres, with a maximum capacity of 25% indoors or 250 people (whichever is less). Patrons won’t have to physically distance themselves while dancing, but face coverings must be worn. Businesses must also record the names and contact information of every patron.

Although some businesses may request that patrons show proof of vaccination upon arrival at their establishments for indoor dining, it likely won’t be a province-wide requirement.

“We’re not going to have a split society,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at a press conference on Thursday when asked if the province would implement vaccine passports.

Meanwhile, some regions in Canada and internationally are implementing or considering vaccine-based identification to access services.

Quebec has said that it would adopt a vaccine passport system in the fall if the province is hit by a fourth wave of COVID-19, which would limit access to certain activities (e.g., indoor dining, bars, going to gyms, concerts, festivals, etc.).

Across the globe — Greece will require customers at indoor dining restaurants, bars, and cafes to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19—and some Ontarians wish Canada would follow suit.

Toronto Public Health has yet to update its guidance for restaurants, bars, and other food service premises in light of the step 3 opening. In an interview with the Toronto Star, Jeffrey Siegel, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Toronto, said that establishments investing in good air quality is the right thing to do for both employees and customers alike (e.g., by making sure HVAC systems are working and circulating as much fresh air as possible).

On Thursday, Ontario reported 143 cases of COVID-19 and over 31,300 tests completed. The new cases include 25 in the Region of Waterloo, 25 in Grey Bruce, and 20 in Toronto. As of Thursday morning, 17,641,856 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

Click here for a full list of what restrictions will change in Step 3 and here for what you need to know about gyms reopening on Friday.

Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario updates.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO