Town of Innisfil Proposes COVID-19 Emergency Patios Program To Support Bars and Restaurants in Reopening

MEDIA RELEASE  – June 10, 2020

Innisfil, ON – The Town of Innisfil continues to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the proposal of a new COVID-19 Emergency Patios Program. With the announcement that Simcoe Muskoka is moving into Stage 2 of the Province’s reopening framework, local restaurants and bars will soon be allowed to open for dining in outdoor areas. If approved by Council later this week, the Town’s COVID-19 Emergency Patios Programs will provide guidelines for restaurant and bar owners who wish to expand or construct new patios.

“COVID-19 has had a significant economic impact on local bars and restaurants,” said Mayor Lynn Dollin. “The sooner they can get back to business in our new normal, the more likely they will be able to rebound, grow, add value to our community and employ people.”

Owners of bars and restaurants who wish to participate in the Program will be asked to submit a form via an online portal connected to the Town’s website, to comply with all applicable legislation and regulations, obtain the proper consents, and follow guidelines imposed through the Program that relate to accessibility, furnishings, etc.

The COVID-19 Emergency Patios Program guidelines checklist will include:


  1. Patios must be within the limits of privately-owned property.
  2. Patios must be touching the building of the bar or restaurant.
  3. Patios cannot occupy any space in a parking lot reserved for accessible parking, unless alternative accessible parking is provided.
  4. Patios shall NOT occupy any parking aisle or driveway. 


  1. Patios cannot compromise barrier-free access to or from the patio entrances/exits, washrooms and/or designated barrier-free spaces.
  2. Patios cannot compromise fire or emergency access or designated fire routes.
  3. Patios cannot compromise access for City Staff, County Staff or utility companies who may need access for repair or maintenance of facilities, structures or otherwise, such as fire hydrants and connections, electricity elements, natural gas connections, trees/plants, pipes, cables, wires, poles, waste/recycle bins, etc.
  4. Patio enclosure minimum limits:
    1. All hydrants offset: 1.5m
    2. Gas assets or meters: 0.6m
    3. Utility vaults: 1.5m

Furnishings, Shelter and Other

  1. Patios cannot contain fixed or permanent structures, furnishings, etc.
  2. Patios must only contain temporary shelter, such as umbrellas or shade screens, but cannot contain tents, roofs, etc.
  3. Dedicated waste receptacles must be located within the patio footprint. 
  4. Patios cannot contain outdoor cooking facilities or meal preparation areas.
  5. Platforms, walking surfaces, awnings or roofs will require a building permit.


  1. There must be demonstrated demarcation and sufficient control over the patio by way of physical barriers (such as curb stops, etc.) to ensure the safety of patrons from adjacent activities and to ensure compliance with Liquor Control requirements, if applicable.
  2. Where fencing is used, it must:
    1. Be at least 1.07m in height
    2. Be weighted by footplates or stable mass planter boxes
    3. Shall not extend beyond the area of the patio, or attached to trees, Town property or utilities, etc.


  1. The number of patrons is limited to a maximum of 50% of the design capacity of the indoor establishment, subject to maintaining a minimum distance of two metres between patrons from different households.

The Program requires a by-law change in order to proceed. Innisfil Town Council will vote on the by-law on Thursday June 11th, at 6:00 pm. Once passed, more details will be made available to bar and restaurant owners on how to fill out an online form to register for the COVID-19 Emergency Patios Program.