New Operating Rules with Expanded Capacity Released for Restaurants and Food Services Businesses

COVID-19 Updates & Resources


A new provincial health order has been issued changing the rules for how restaurants can operate during COVID-19, and allowing restaurants to exceed the previous restriction to 50% of their capacity.  Restaurants can now have more patrons provided parties are able to maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres.

The order, which you can read here, includes several directives, including:

  • Capacity is no longer restricted to 50%, but instead businesses must determine a maximum number of patrons and staff that their premises can
    accommodate based on them standing or sitting two metres apart
  • Self-serve and buffets are allowed, provided the restaurant
    • provides hand washing facilities or alcohol-based sanitizers within easy reach ;
    • posts signs reminding patrons to wash or sanitize their hands before touching self-service food or other items and to maintain a two metre distance from one another;
    • frequently clean and sanitize high touch surfaces at the station and utensils that are used for self- service
  • Tables must be placed so that patrons seated at them are two metres away from patrons at other tables UNLESS those other patrons are part of the same group or UNLESS physical partitions/barriers are installed between the tables
  • 2 metres of space is needed between seats at a bar UNLESS the patrons are in the same party/group or UNLESS partitions/barriers are used there as well
  • The limit on party/group size remains at 6 people
  • If an event is held at the restaurant, there can be no more than 50 people in the event, or on the premises in total, even if the restaurant has capacity in its safety plan greater than 50,