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Reopening rules clarified for Ottawa food and drink establishments ahead of Friday

The new regulations no longer require businesses to close by a certain hour.
2020-07-15 ByWard Market extended patio CK1
Extended patios in Ottawa's ByWard Market, July 2020. Chris Kurys/ CityNews

As restaurants and bars across Ottawa get set to offer patio service this weekend, the City of Ottawa is reminding owners and patrons of their responsibilities in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Ontario will be moving into Step 1 of its 'Roadmap to Reopen' on Friday, June 11, at 12:01 a.m. 

In that step, restaurants, bars, food trucks, concession stands, and other food and drink establishments are allowed to open for outdoor dining, with conditions. Indoor dining and buffet-style service will not be permitted.

The new regulations no longer require food and drink establishments to close by a certain hour. Businesses will be permitted to remain open for outdoor dining and alcohol service until 2 a.m., in accordance with their liquor license and the Right of Way Patio By-law (2017-92, as amended).

Seating

Under the rules for areas in Step 1, no more than four people are permitted to be seated together at an outdoor table unless everyone seated at the table is a member of the same household, a member of up to one other household who lives alone, or, a caregiver for any member of either household.

The city says patrons must also remain seated at all times in any outdoor dining area except:

  • While entering/exiting the area and while moving to their table
  • While placing, picking up, or paying for an order
  • While going to or returning from a washroom
  • While lining up to do any of the actions listed above
  • Where necessary for the purposes of health and safety

Capacity

The outdoor dining area must be configured in a manner to ensure that patrons seated at different tables are separated by a distance of at least two metres, or plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

The total number of customers permitted to be seated outdoors at an establishment must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person at the establishment (excluding patrons seated at the same table, in accordance with the regulations).

Contact tracing and screening

The city explains that the person responsible for the establishment must record the name and contact information of every patron that enters the establishment, unless the patron temporarily enters to pick up or pay for a takeout order. These records must be kept for a period of at least one month and must only be disclosed to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request.

The establishment must actively screen any dine-in patrons in accordance with the advice, recommendations and instructions of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health before they enter the premises of the establishment.

Line-ups

No patron is permitted to line up or congregate outside of an establishment unless they are maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups inside or outside of a business.

No patron may be permitted to line up inside an establishment, for the purpose of using a washroom or to pay, unless they are maintaining a physical distance of at least two metres from other groups inside or outside and wearing a face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin, unless they are entitled to any of the exceptions listed in the regulations (i.e. a medical condition that inhibits ability to wear a mask or face covering).

Other applicable Step 1 rules:

  • Masks must be worn when entering, exiting, or walking through the establishment (i.e. when getting up from seat to go to the washroom or to pay).
  • The person responsible for the establishment must post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the maximum capacity under which the establishment is permitted to operate.
  • Music must not be played at a decibel level that exceeds the level at which normal conversation is possible.
  • No person shall dance, sing or perform music at the establishment.
  • If an outdoor dining area at the establishment is covered by a roof, canopy, tent, awning or other element, at least two full sides of the entire outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.
  • If an outdoor dining area at the establishment is equipped with a retractable roof and the roof is retracted, at least one full side of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked by any walls or other impermeable physical barriers.

Enforcement

While the provincial Step 1 rules address the requirements applicable to the spaces immediately associated with food and drink establishments, there may be concerns about patrons congregating outside of those spaces, such as in the right-of-way, particularly in areas of the city where roads have been closed to vehicular traffic to provide for patios.

By-law and Regulatory Services will be expected to monitor those food and drink establishments and enforce the Step 1 provincial regulations, and any other applicable regulations, accordingly.

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