Patrons on a downtown London patio. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)Patrons on a downtown London patio. (Photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

Emergency order amended to help restaurants and bars

The Ontario government issued a new emergency order and amended others amid the pandemic so restaurants and bars can move faster to open and extend their patios.

The change will allow municipalities to pass temporary bylaws allowing outdoor dining areas quickly and it was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Before the amendments, it could take several weeks for municipalities to create and pass bylaws. The exemption cuts red tape and reduces the processing time, so it should only take a couple of days.

The government also amended an emergency order allowing outdoor dining areas if they have a roof, canopy, tent, or awning. At least two sides of the dining area will need to be open to the outdoors and not blocked.

"Businesses across the province are demonstrating that we can still enjoy our beautiful Ontario summer while protecting the health and safety of their patrons," said Premier Doug Ford. "Restaurants and bars are an important part of our economy, and a great driver of employment."

The government continues to review and make amendments to emergency orders where needed.

All of Ontario, except for Leamington and Kingsville in Essex County, is in stage two of reopening the economy. Those municipalities remain in stage one.

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