Dear Minister Rickford:
PATIO LIQUOR LICENSES IN ONTARIO
I am pleased to express the support of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce for the recommendations offered by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) in the attached letter to Minister Phillips regarding patio liquor licenses.
The Thunder Bay Chamber has been working closely with local Business Improvement Areas, Business Associations, restaurant owners, and the City of Thunder Bay to develop municipal regulations that allow restaurants and bars to expand their patios into parking lots, sidewalks and closed streets. This would allow customers to enjoy local culinary take-out options in an outdoor setting that addresses public health concerns for physical distancing in a socially enjoyable way.
Our Members share the concerns outlined by the OCC regarding the timeliness of liquor license application processing by the Alcohol and Gaming of Commission of Ontario as well as the need for flexibility to ensure that establishments can expand patron seating options and the associated liquor license into shared outdoor dining areas.
We fully endorse the following OCC recommendation:
That the Government of Ontario ensure that the AGCO has the resources/staff needed to expedite the approval process for restaurants and bars looking to obtain a seasonal liquor license and those who currently have a liquor license but need to expand to facilitate social distancing.
c.Michael Gravelle, MPP, Thunder Bay-Superior North
Judith Monteith-Farrell, MPP, Thunder Bay-Atikokan
City Council, City of Thunder Bay
On June 8, the Attorney General has implemented regulatory changes that give the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) the discretion to allow licensed establishments to temporarily add or increase the size of their patios once they are permitted to reopen. These opportunities will be available to all licensed establishments, whether or not they currently have a patio, and will be subject to any additional requirements set out by the AGCO and municipality (such as by-laws or other restrictions).