Ottawa restaurant The Grand says it was fined for letting customers eat takeout on patio

The Grand
The Grand Pizzeria and Bar is located on George Street in the ByWard Market. (Google Street View image)

A ByWard Market restaurant says it's been fined $880 after allowing customers to use its patio over the weekend.

The co-owner of The Grand Pizzeria and Bar says the restaurant let patrons eat their takeout orders on the patio on Sunday afternoon and was ticketed for breaking the provincial COVID-19 rules.

John Borsten says he doesn't see what they did wrong given that the restaurant didn't serve customers on the patio, and that others were eating on public benches and sidewalks nearby.

Restaurants in Ontario were forced to close their doors in March due to measures meant to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, but have since been allowed to reopen for takeout only.

Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod – who is also Ontario's sports and culture minister – praised The Grand on Twitter for its “creativity.”

MacLeod said the business should be “commended, not ticketed,” drawing backlash from some who noted the province is the one setting the rules.

“It's her government,” Borsten said Monday, adding the government does not appear to have thought through the process of reopening.

“They don't know how to make the rules, they don't know what to do,” he said.

“Just let people open up and be responsible, and if they're irresponsible, then we have liquor licences that you can revoke, we have food premise licences you can revoke.”