June 8, 2020

As part of its broader package of relief measures for Ontarians and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government of Ontario has introduced new measures to support liquor sales licensees in temporarily extending their patios in order to safely reopen for business.

The Government has amended Regulation 719 under the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) to provide flexibility for liquor sales licensees (e.g. licensed bars and restaurants) to temporarily extend their physical premises beyond 14 days provided they have municipal approval and meet the criteria below.

Once they are again permitted to welcome patrons on-site and until January 1, 2021 at 3:00 a.m., liquor sales licensees who wish to temporarily extend the physical size of their existing licensed patio or to temporarily add a new licensed patio within the approved period, are authorized to do so, if the following criteria are met:

  1. The physical extension of the premises is adjacent to the premises to which the licence to sell liquor applies;
  2. The municipality in which the premises is situated has indicated it does not object to an extension;
  3. The licensee is able to demonstrate sufficient control over the physical extension of the premises;
  4. There is no condition on the liquor sales licence prohibiting a patio; and,
  5. The capacity of any new patio, or extended patio space where the licensee has an existing licensed patio, does not exceed 1.11 square metres per person.

To minimize administrative burden for licensees, those who meet the above criteria are not required to apply to the AGCO or pay a fee to temporarily extend their patio or add a temporary new licensed patio.

Licensees are not required to submit any documentation to the AGCO to demonstrate compliance with the above criteria. However, licensees are required to produce such documentation, if requested by the AGCO.

Licensees that do not meet the above criteria are required to follow the usual application process for a temporary extension of premises and apply through iAGCO. In addition, licensees who wish to maintain the patio extension beyond January 1, 2021, must apply for a permanent modification through iAGCO and must meet all applicable requirements.

Change to Partition Requirements

To provide additional flexibility for licensees, Regulation 719 under the LLA was also amended to remove the requirement that licensed service area boundaries must be defined by at least a 0.9 metre partition. Licensees must continue to ensure that all licensed areas are readily distinguishable from areas to which the licence does not apply. This change will remain in effect beyond the COVID-19 recovery period.

All licensees are expected to comply with physical distancing measures and any other public health guidelines or orders issued by the Ontario Government or by any other applicable level of government.

Licensees may continue to sell alcohol for off-site consumption and delivery to a residence in conjunction with takeout or delivery food orders until December 31, 2020 as prescribed in current regulation.

The AGCO remains committed to protecting public safety and ensuring that alcohol is sold, served, delivered and consumed in a responsible manner. Any conditions on a licence continue to apply and licensees must continue to meet all other existing requirements in the LLA and regulations.

The AGCO continues to work closely with the Government of Ontario to find ways of supporting Ontarians and the sectors we regulate.

Further information on these new measures can be obtained by calling AGCO Customer Service at 1-800-522-2876 or by visiting the AGCO webpage.

Links to electronic versions of the Liquor Licence Act and its regulations are available on our Acts and Regulations page.


AGCO Customer Service
Telephone: 416-326-8700
Toll free in Ontario: 1-800-522-2876
Or via the iAGCO online portal

Line of Business: 

Help us improve the AGCO website

Complete a short survey