Town is Helping Restaurants Set Up Patios

The Town of Cobourg today hosted a virtual seminar for Restaurant owners to discuss the newly allowed Patios.  Starting June 12, although dining in is not allowed, restaurants will be allowed to serve meals and drinks to patios – in some cases patios will be new and for others they will be existing or an expansion.  In all cases, social distancing will be required with rules on table spacing.  All relevant departments were on the Zoom call:  Planning, Building, Fire, Works and Clerks departments as well as representatives from AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission) and HKPR DHU (Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit). I counted about 6 businesses although Town Clerk Brent Larmer said that there had already been 12 applications/enquiries.  Applicants should contact Brent who said that the Town is working hard to streamline the process.

Brent said that Municipal approval is still required but any new approvals will be streamlined. Approvals are needed from Planning, Building, Fire, Works and if there is no current liquor licence, then AGCO as well.

If there is currently a patio, then the only changes are:

  1. Provide for social distancing – and 2 metres between the edges of tables.
  2. Provide for access to a washroom – preferably with floor markings, a limit on the number of people at a time in the washroom (depending on size) and preferably different routes to and from the washrooms.

If the patio will be new, then an application is required and Brent will provide a package of information on what to do.  First in line is planning who requires a site plan and floor plan (hand drawn is acceptable) showing that the patio is safe not just for Covid-19 but also per other requirements.  Fencing will be required, the area must be accessible for anyone with disabilities, fire regulations require clear exits and the AGCO requires that demarcation between licensed and unlicensed areas must be clear. Contact Glenn McGlashon in the Planning Department for help.

Melissa Johnstone from the HKPR DHU also said that Tents or Canopies were not permitted although umbrellas for shade were OK.  She was reassuring about liability – she said that if you take every precaution then there would not be a problem even if individuals violate the rules.   She suggested that hand sanitizer should be available and that menus and tables should be sanitized between uses.  She was hopeful that in a few weeks we would be in stage 3 when dining in would be permitted.

In response to a question, Melissa said while restaurants should try to limit their service to local customers, this would not be enforced.  For example, there will not be a requirement to get names, phone numbers and addresses of all people when taking reservations.  Likewise, 4 people from the same household may occupy a table and although staff should point out the requirement, there’s no need to take this any further if people violate the request.

If there are circumstances where social distancing is not possible (e.g. walking customers to a table), then masks should be worn – hopefully also by customers!

It was pointed out that 2 metres is not exactly 6ft but in response, it was said that no inspectors will be using tape measures!  In fact, the first few days will see education and no more.



It seems I was not clear – the idea of patios applies to ALL of Cobourg. Half the restaurant owners attending were not from Downtown.

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Mrs. Anonymous
11 July 2020 2:19 pm

Drove by Arthur’s last night at the very visible corner of Elgin and William and they now have a very large tent. Appeared to be fairly full of customers enjoying food and bev. Yet the Health unit spokesperson states that the health unit does not allow canopies or tents. Province says a tent is ok with two sides open.

What’s up with that? Did the health unit change their rules?

Last edited 2 years ago by Mrs. Anonymous
14 June 2020 5:01 pm

Drove by CJ’s and Arthur’s, Sunday about 4:30 , only a couple of people on the patio

Reply to  Mark
14 June 2020 5:31 pm

You should have stopped in😀

Adam Bureau
13 June 2020 6:44 am

There were actually 2 meetings yesterday for restaurants,bars and coffee shops. The first one was just for the downtown. Since the establishments downtown have more barriers and or questions on how to operate with new safety guidelines. The meeting John covered in this article was for all the other food establishments in Cobourg. I have to tip my hat to the town clerk Mr.Larmer for setting up both meetings in such a short time.

Wally Keeler
12 June 2020 1:05 pm

All relevant departments were on the Zoom call: Planning, Building, Fire, Works and Clerks departments as well as representatives from AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission) and HKPR DHU (Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit).
“Zoom has admitted it suspended the accounts of human rights activists at the behest of the Chinese government and suggested it will block any further meetings that Beijing complains are illegal.”
Keep it in mind. You are being monitored.

12 June 2020 9:18 am

Is there anywhere we can see a list of which restaurants and other businesses are opened? We want to support those who have been closed for the past while.

Reply to  Voidczech
12 June 2020 9:29 am

Please support the rest that have been forgotten
Plumbers, Lawyers, Carpenters, Realtors ,Nail salons , Chiropractors etc etc
they don’t seem to get the same media coverage
Besides all that healthy natural home cooking is much better for you

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  sandpiper
12 June 2020 2:52 pm

You doing the cooking Sandpiper?

Reply to  sandpiper
12 June 2020 5:37 pm

Plumbers, carpenters and Realtors were not shut down very long 🤔

Reply to  Voidczech
12 June 2020 9:33 am

Yes, would be nice to know which restaurants are opening today with a patio.
I could use a drink!!

12 June 2020 8:42 am

I can’t Believe that the mandatory Health Requirement doesn’t insist on continued testing of ALL staff and food handlers . After all the food being used and provided is coming from out side of Cobourg ( Like Toronto Food terminal and wholesalers )
For months now we have been advised to wash and sterilize everything we touch or bring into our Homes Am I missing some thing or is this Pandemic over just as fast as it started .

beach lover
12 June 2020 8:22 am

Excellent news! I’d love to see a pedestrian zone set up downtown so the restaurants can have more space.

Reply to  beach lover
12 June 2020 8:30 am

Why only downtown restaurants? Close Williams and Division so that the various fast food places can have patios on the street.

12 June 2020 8:12 am

I can imagine these guidelines will be a challenge for many downtown restaurants. Wouldn’t it be great every Thursday night-Sunday to close off King from Spring to Division and create a pedestrian walkway with largely expanded, regulation observant patios into the street. Just a thought.

Reply to  Anne
12 June 2020 8:56 am

Other than making sure there is access for emergency use,this is a great idea. I had a similar thought but the idea of thursday to sunday is even better

Canuck Patriot
11 June 2020 9:48 pm

Is the Town helping all restaurant owners setup patios or just those located downtown?

John Draper
Reply to  Canuck Patriot
12 June 2020 8:38 am

See addendum – there is nothing that says it’s only downtown.