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Ontario restaurants, bars now required to keep customers seated and maintain logs

Friday, July 31, 2020 @ 2:46 PM | By John Schofield

As Toronto and Peel Region join most of Ontario in stage 3 of reopening July 31 — just in time for the August civic holiday long weekend — the Ontario government has amended rules to require patrons visiting bars and restaurants to stay seated at all times, with limited exceptions.

The new rules for stage 3 areas and stage 2 areas detail the exceptions and were implemented as amendments to the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. They apply to indoor and outdoor seating areas at bars, restaurants and other food and drink establishments across the entire province, according to a July 31 government news release. Only the Windsor-Essex region remains in stage 2.

In addition, bars, restaurants and tour boat operators in the province will be required to keep client logs for 30 days and to disclose them to the medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

“These additional measures will help reduce close contact between individuals in these settings and support case and contact tracing, thereby limiting the spread of COVID-19,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott said in the news release.

Businesses and sectors unable to open or facing significant difficulties in operating under the current restrictions are invited to visit to submit a reopening proposal. Businesses are also encouraged to use the government’s guide to develop a workplace safety plan.

Information on restrictions that remain in place during stage 3 is available on the government’s emergency information portal or through the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1 888 444-3659.

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily please contact John Schofield at or call (905) 415-5891.