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COVID-19 impact on the hospitality industry and servers

The change in restaurant service, affect on Toronto servers

Toronto servers share their experiences and thoughts about working during the pandemic
(RSJ/Alexandre Kingston-Wayne)

Video by: Alexandre Kingston-Wayne

Multimedia by: Shadai Scoburgh

By: Aru Kaul

As Toronto bars adapt to the pandemic, a discussion has begun about whether or not they are a safe and equitable workplace for servers. 

Toronto restaurants are required to follow public health guidelines for reopening. This includes physical distancing between tables, limited access to indoor space for customers and relying heavier on reservations. 

Servers rely on tips to get by. A lot of them go into work not knowing if they will have a job or if there will be another lockdown. 

Many servers in Toronto have had their hours cut and a temporary ban on serving patrons indoors. 

The Toronto Restaurant Workers Relief  (TRWRF) fund urges for five demands for reopened restaurants: a living wage and abolished tips, attention to mental health of restaurant employees, better management and anti-racism work, stronger COVID-19 considerations and a decrease in police presence. 

 Toronto City Council  has approved a motion allowing some outdoor patios to stay open through the winter. The city’s council approved the extension of sidewalk patios, allowing restaurants to occupy sidewalk space along the curbside. Patios that block roads are not approved by the council.

An example of an acceptable outdoor patio, approved by the Toronto City Council (RSJ/Alexandre Kingston-Wayne)

The council is also extending a bylaw through 2021. The bylaw will increase the size limit of outdoor patios. It is also removing restrictions that would otherwise prevent patios in the front of buildings.

Restaurant service has constantly been changing throughout the pandemic. Health and safety guidelines are not the same now as they were at the start.

The progression of business safety procedures from March 2020 to Oct. 2020 is shown in this timeline.

October 30, 2020

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