COVID-19: Here are the rules for patios in Ottawa under step 1 of Ontario reopening

The City of Ottawa has released a set of rules for patio diners and operators starting Friday, when outdoor dining returns to the nation’s capital.

Ontario will proceed to step one of its COVID-19 reopening plan on Friday at 12:01 a.m., which allows restaurants to reopen for patio service but not indoor dining.

Unlike previous reopening measures that saw staggered times for closing and serving alcohol, the new regime will see bars and restaurants able to serve patrons until a 2 a.m. last call, provided they respect the rules of the liquor licences and Ottawa’s patio bylaws.

Here are the rules patrons and restaurants will have to follow while eating on a patio under the first step of reopening:

  • No more than four people sitting at a table, unless it’s a shared household. Exceptions are made for one individual from a single-person household or a caretaker
  • Diners must remain seated during the meal, except to use the washroom or order/pay for the meal
  • Patrons seated at adjacent tables must be at least two metres apart or separated by plexiglass or similar barriers
  • Outdoor capacity on the patio is determined by the number of people who can dine while maintaining two metres of distance. A sign indicating this capacity must be posted and visible
  • Restaurant operators must collect contact information for each patron and keep records for at least a month
  • Patrons must be actively screened for COVID-19 before entering the premises, in accordance with Ottawa Public Health guidelines
  • Lineups must be managed by the establishment to maintain two metres of distance between each group. Everyone in line must also wear a mask, subject to typical exemptions
  • Masks must also be worn while walking through the establishment or between tables
  • Music can not be played at a volume that supersedes normal conversation levels. No singing, dancing or performing
  • Partial tents or canopy coverings for outdoor dining must be fully open on at least two sides of the structure. If the roof is retracted in such a setting, at least one side of the structure must be open

The city also warns that anyone congregating around restaurants could be subject to bylaw enforcement if public health measures aren’t being followed.

Read more:
Ottawa COVID-19 vaccination rates on track for 2nd step of Ontario’s reopening in July, officials say

Bylaw officers will be monitoring restaurants for transgressions in and around the settings when outdoor dining begins this weekend.

Mayor Jim Watson encouraged residents to continue following public health advice during Wednesday’s city council meeting if they choose to grab a drink on a patio this weekend.

“Let us not go out and celebrate too soon,” he said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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