The City of Toronto is maximizing patio season by allowing portable heaters for CaféTO, streamlining overall restaurant patio heater process.
With cooler fall weather approaching, the City of Toronto has announced plans to allow portable heaters to be placed in all outdoor patios, including CaféTO curb lane closures, to help keep outdoor dining spaces open longer and provide additional support for local restaurants.
The CaféTO program is due to end in late fall (pending snowfall in weather forecasts) and allowing restaurant operators to safely introduce portable heaters will help make outdoor dining more appealing to customers, encourage physical distancing to help stop virus spread, and give restaurant operators the chance to maximize outdoor patio season and generate revenue.
Portable heating devices, including fire fuelled appliances like propane heaters, will be allowed on all outdoor patio types in Toronto, including sidewalks and curb lane cafés. The guidelines for safe use developed by Toronto Fire Services are available on the CaféTO website, and operators must follow them closely. Locations will be monitored for safe use and enforced by City bylaw officers and Toronto Fire Services staff. Before, there were numerous documents and applications required for heaters on patios to be approved. The new Fire Services' guidelines streamline that process and the documentation is no longer required at this time.
Some examples of the guidelines include only using heaters that meet federal and provincial safety requirements, installing and storing units per the manufacturer’s instructions, and removing heaters from the curb lane when the café is not in use. As per CaféTO safety and accessibility guidelines, tents and structures are still not permitted in curb lane closures.
The City is also planning an online survey to gather input from both local restaurant operators about the CaféTO program and customers who have visited CaféTO locations. Input from the survey will help inform future decisions about the program. The survey, and other information, will be available at http://www.toronto.ca/cafeto