OTTAWA -- A ByWard Market restaurant has been fined for failing to ensure patrons were seated properly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Jim Watson announced Ottawa Bylaw officers have issued one charge under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to a restaurant in the ByWard Market area for failing to comply with the emergency order.

"The restaurant wasn't ensuring that the patrons were seated properly," said Watson Friday afternoon.

"We also have another charge pending against another establishment."

The mayor did not name the restaurant that has been charged. 

According to Ontario's Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, patrons at bars and restaurants must be seated at all times in any area of the establishment in which food or drink is permitted, except:

  • While entering the area and while moving to their table
  • While placing or picking up an order
  • While paying for an order
  • While exiting the area
  • While going to or returning from a washroom

The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act adds that establishments must be configured so that patrons seated at different tables are separated by a distance of at least two metres and plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

"It's essential that we all do our part to continue to follow provincial orders to help stop the spread of the virus," said Mayor Watson.

During the first weekend that Ottawa was in Stage 3 in July, Councillor Mathieu Fleury said 16 notices of violations were issued to bar and restaurant operators for violating the measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, including not following physical distancing guidelines and loud music.

Ottawa Bylaw officers have been conducting proactive enforcement in the ByWard Market and other areas of Ottawa to make sure bars and restaurants are following the rules.

"We've done several visits and there's been no other compliance issues," said Anthony Di Monte, Emergency and Protective Services General Manager.

"In fact, proactively people are reaching out, both to public health and to us, to ensure they're doing the right thing."

The Ontario Government's COVID-19 pandemic rules limit gatherings to a maximum of 100 people in outdoor settings and 50 people indoors, as long as physical distancing requirements are followed.