Tory says CaféTO will be even better in 2021; comments on improper vaccinations given

patio

With a long road ahead for the restaurant sector to recover from COVID-19's economic impact, Toronto Mayor John Tory said the popular CaféTO program will improve in 2021. 

"I am determined to continue this program this year with city council support," Tory said Wednesday, discussing his agenda for the city's next executive council meeting. 

"What was a quick start program in response to the pandemic, the CaféTO program became very popular with people, but in also helping local bars and restaurants," he said. 

Allowing bars and restaurants to set up exterior patios in curb lanes during the pandemic, over 800 businesses took part in 2020. 

Tory said according to city surveys of those who participated, 66 per cent of operators said their restaurant or bar would not have been financially viable were it not for the program. 

Measures to make it better include a more efficient registration system, better traffic management and faster installations, as well as waiving certain fees, at a total cost of $987,000. 

"Restaurants and bars are vital to our main streets," he said. "It is an enhancement to our neighbourhoods that I want to extend." 

First approved locations could arrive in May, while sidewalk cafés will continue to be permitted. 

Meanwhile CurbTO, which allowed for temporary parking pickup zones for businesses, is also planned to be kept. 

RESPONSE TO IMPROPER VACCINATIONS

Tory also commented on the revelation first reported by NEWSTALK1010 that a private signup link for vaccinations at the now suspected Metro Toronto Convention Centre vaccination site was shared without authorization. 

It led to eight people getting vaccinated who were not on the priority list on Monday, as well as six others who managed to register, but were identified and turned away on Tuesday before the facility was closed because of lack of vaccine supply. 

"The key on these kinds of things is not so much what was the problem, but how did you react to it?" Tory said, adding the city responded quickly to the problem and it was resolved. 

He said additional safeguards could include password protection for links to vaccination portals, which hopefully will return soon once supply problems are resolved. 

"It's immensely frustrating," Tory said of the site having to close after just two days, following news that next week's shipment from Pfizer to Canada has been deferred completely.