Make no bones about it - dogs really are our best friends, and we want to take them everywhere we go. You’ll be happy to know that dogs are now permitted on restaurant patios across Ontario, and we have the details for you.
Thanks to the Ontario government you can now come, sit, and stay with your dog on restaurant patios, ensuring a wonder-fur time!
Dogs really do make people feel happier! Studies have shown that interactions with dogs cause our brains to produce oxytocin. This hormone increases feelings of relaxation, empathy, and trust while reducing anxiety and stress.
Paws Up for the Latest News: Ontario Permits Dogs on Restaurant Patios
How Did Dogs Become Permitted on Patios in Ontario?
It started with The Better for People, Smarter for Business Act which was introduced in Ontario to reduce regulatory burdens and barriers that prevent job creation and income growth.
The Better for People, Smarter for Business Act called to change Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act legislation making it possible to have…
- Dogs in outdoor seating areas like restaurant patios; and
- Dogs in indoor eating areas where beer, wine, cider, or spirits are made, and where beverages and certain low-risk foods are served.
"Certain rules create unnecessary barriers for local businesses to truly meet the needs of their customers and limit choice for consumers," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health "While protecting the health and safety of Ontarians will always be our key priority, the proposed changes to allow dogs on restaurant patios and areas where low-risk foods are served will better align Ontario to other provinces and jurisdictions while making it easier for dog owners to enjoy a meal out on the patio."
What Are the Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Dogs Being Permitted on Patios?
The January 1, 2020, amendments to the Health Protection and Promotion Act reduce restrictions related to dogs being allowed on patios and some indoor food premises such as craft breweries.
Outlined below are the specific rules and regulations in this Act:
- Dogs are allowed in outdoor eating areas of a food service premises IF food is not being prepared in the eating area
- Dogs are allowed in an indoor eating area of a food service premises if:
- the only food items that are prepared are low-risk food items, and
- the dogs are in a room where only low-risk or pre-packaged, ready-to-eat food items, or both, are served – no manufacturing, processing, or preparation of food items can take place in this room
- dogs are only permitted at patios and restaurants that have leash-friendly railing nearby,
As A Restaurant Owner – Where Do You Stand?
At the end of the day, Ontario isn’t keeping a tight leash on the stipulations in this Act; restaurant owners can decide for themselves whether customers can bring dogs on the patio.
It seems like some businesses are thrilled with these developments and are raising the woof:
"The Ontario government is creating the right environment for local businesses to succeed by removing ineffective regulations," said Rob Garrard, Co-Founder and Owner of The Second Wedge Brewing Co. "They are championing companies like ours by allowing us to make smart, responsible and popular decisions that communities are asking for." (Source: Ontario Newsroom)