by David Klemt

Current Restaurant and Bar Restrictions: Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver

by David Klemt

For more than a decade, KRG Hospitality has turned hospitality industry visions into reality throughout Canada.

Currently, we operate in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver and the surrounding areas.

We’ve reviewed and gathered the current Covid-19-based restrictions in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia to help current operators and those considering taking the next steps in their journey toward opening their own businesses.

To book a 15-minute introductory call to discuss your project and how we can help you realize your vision, click here.


On January 25, the province of Ontario officially extended the current state of emergency (which includes a stay-at-home order) by 14 days by Premier Doug Ford. Had Premier Ford not extended the emergency order, it would’ve expired Tuesday of this week. Unless extended again, it will expire February 11.

What this means for restaurants, bars and other types of F&B establishments is that indoor and outdoor dining are banned currently. Delivery, takeout and drive-through service are permitted.

Individuals face $750 fines (up to a maximum of $100,000) and corporations could be hit with $1,000 fines (up to a maximum of $500,000 for a director or officer) for a violation of emergency orders.

When the state of emergency expires or is otherwise rescinded, Ontario is expected to revert to the regulations found within the Reopening Ontario Act (currently suspended). Should Ontario find itself immediately colour-coded Grey, the current restrictions on restaurants and bars will remain identical: only delivery, takeout and drive-through service will be allowed.

Among other restrictions, a Red control level means restaurants are restricted to indoor dining capacity of ten people, outdoor dining is permitted, customers must be seated and two metres apart from one another, liquor may only be sold within a 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM window, face coverings must be worn except when eating or drinking, and nightclubs may only operate as a restaurant or bar.

Orange level restrictions include a 50-person capacity limit, a maximum of four people per table, customers must be screened before entry, liquor may only be sold between the hours of 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM, establishments must close by 10:00 PM, and gentlemen’s clubs must remain closed.

The Yellow control level is marked by the following restrictions: no more than six people may be seated at the same table, liquor may only be sold between 9:00 AM and 11:00 PM, establishments must close by midnight, music levels may not exceed that of a “normal conversation,” and all seated patrons must provide contact information.

Green control doesn’t mean everything is back to pre-pandemic “normalcy.” Tables must still be at least two metres apart, customers must be seated, face coverings must be worn except when eating or drinking, no buffet-style service is permitted, nightclubs may only operate as restaurants or bars, and contact information for at least one person per party must be collected. Restricted dancing, singing, performing and karaoke (no private rooms) are permitted.


On December 13, 2020, indoor and outdoor dining was banned throughout Alberta. Current Covid-19-related public health measures and restrictions have been extended until further notice. The province’s restrictions affect restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs, and lounges (and other businesses, of course).

Only delivery, takeout and curbside pickup are permitted in Alberta. However, this is expected to change on February 8, 2021.

Hotels, motels and lodges are open but may not offer access to gyms, pools or spas. Indoor dining is banned but room service permitted. Casinos must remain closed.

Movie theatres, bowling alleys, pool halls and other entertainment businesses may not open for business.

If Alberta returns to the previous relaunch strategy, the province will be subject to a three-stage reopening. However, the document hasn’t been updated since June 2020.

Update: Alberta allowed restaurants and bars to reopen for in-person services yesterday, February 8. Indoor alcohol service must end by 10:00 PM, and indoor dining service must cease by 11:00 PM. Contact information from one person of the dining party must be collected, there’s a limit of six people maximum per table and each individual must be from the same household. Alternatively, the maximum per table for an individual living alone is there two close contacts. Tables must be spaced two metres apart and no entertainment is permitted.


British Columbia is far less restrictive than Ontario and Alberta, at least at the moment. The restrictions in place currently affect restaurants, bars, cafes, cafeterias, coffee shops, lounges, and tasting rooms. Nightclubs, however, must remain closed.


  • Unless a physical barrier is in place, customers not in the same party must be at least two metres away from one another.
  • No more than six people may be seated at the same table or booth, even if they’re members of the same party.
  • If seated at a counter, customers must be two metres apart unless they’re in the same party or physical barriers are in place.
  • No more than six customers of the same party may be seated at a counter less than two metres from one another.
  • Businesses that offer self-serve food or non-alcohol drink stations must: ensure alcohol-based hand sanitizer or handwashing facilities are “within easy reach”; signage reminding customers to wash or sanitize their hands before touching anything on the stations and to maintain two metres from other customers must be present; utensils and high-touch surfaces at the stations must be cleaned and sanitized “frequently.”
  • Dance floors must be closed, and karaoke, singing, jam sessions, open mic sessions, and dancing are prohibited.
  • Background music or sounds may not be amplified or exceed the volume of a “normal” conversation.

Further details can be found here.

Last updated: February 9, 2021. Please note that Covid-19 guidance, restrictions and protocols are subject to swift change. One should monitor the country, provinces and cities for the latest updates.

Image: James Wheeler from Pexels