TOKYO – The city of Toronto is considering new laws to allow café owners to stay open 24 hours, reducing the number of street and park closures it has to perform, the Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.
The City Council is expected to vote on an amendment Tuesday, allowing for a two-hour per day exception for shops that receive restaurant licences. Businesses can apply for extended hours after a request from the city.
CaféTO, a café in Toronto’s trendy Bay St., has been operating out of a portacabin with a kitchen since 2013. Source: Daily Telegraph
Currently, the city has to close about 5,000 streets per year for construction and parking. It’s estimated more than 500 businesses have been impacted by this process.
“A lot of these small- and medium-sized businesses are now dead because of these closures,” Ian Skye, a zoning permit manager for the city, told the Telegraph.
The owner of CafeTO, Babita Nandi, said it had taken her four years to make the pitch to the city about the proposal.
“It’s a massive undertaking,” she told the Telegraph. “It’s not just about being able to stay open, it’s also about our future. There’s been so much development in the food scene. If we can bring people into the city, it would change the fabric of the city.”
The Telegraph’s report also notes that the closing law was introduced in 2003. At the time, it was to be focused on football matches, but now other events have found themselves looking for alternative venues.
Nandi said there are a number of restaurants that are operating late nights, and City Hall officials would have to negotiate with groups that work the evening shifts to make sure the issue isn’t taken on too broadly.