Toronto Mayor John Tory endorsed a city report Wednesday that recommends a “bigger and better” CaféTO program this spring, which — public health orders permitting — could see the first of its locations installed by May, almost two months earlier than last year.
The report, which will be considered by the city’s executive committee on Jan. 27, includes details and key findings about the CaféTO program that began as a quick-start pandemic response last summer for Toronto’s main street restaurants and bars during the ongoing pandemic.
The report includes recommendations to enhance the program such as updating the registration process so that it’s more straightforward, supporting quick installation of CaféTO locations, making curb lane cafes safer and allowing owners to build additional space for curb lane cafe areas, where applicable.
At a news conference Wednesday, Tory said the program helped hundreds of restaurant and bar operators in 2020 by allowing them to expand their patios into curb lanes and along sidewalks to allow more space to ensure physical distancing and hold more patrons.
“The CaféTO program was a popular and successful quick-start COVID-19 response program that helped local businesses stay in business, helped protect jobs, and improved the quality of life in our city for residents,” Tory said Wednesday.
The report states that of 2,800 respondents including restaurant and bar owners and members of the public, 95 per cent wanted to see CafeTO operate in 2021.