City council votes to make CafeTO restaurant program permanent

6 December 2021 / by Daniel Centeno
A row of tables outside a restaurant

City council voted to approve of the permanent implementation of the CafeTO progam in an effort help local restaurants throughout the current phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the vote, Toronto mayor John Tory endorsed a report that recommends making the CafeTo program permanent, meaning ongoing support for local restaurants by expanding outdoor dining opportunities on streets and sidewalks.

CafeTO was initially launched at the height of the COVD-19 pandemic in 2020 to allow restaurants to set up dining services outside when indoor accommodation was prohibited by Toronto Public Health recommendations.

“CafeTO has been one of our most successful pandemic relief programs,” said Tory. “It has positively impacted our city and it has positively impacted hospitality business that call Toronto home and that is because we made the decision, as simple as it may be, to turn parking spaces into patios.”

The program expanded during the city’s patio seasons in the spring and summer months in 2020 and 2021, and continues to boast high turn outs this fall season.

According to a recent press release, CaféTO is supporting more than 1,200 restaurants in 2021, including 940 restaurants with curb lane closures.

Approximately 500 restaurants city-wide already carry a permanent permit for a sidewalk patio, and in 2021, 429 restaurants opened a new, or expanded an existing, sidewalk café through the program.

Listen to the CJRU news update here: