OTTAWA -- A popular ByWard Market restaurant has been fined for allowing people to sit on its patio on a sunny day during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The owner of The Grand Pizzeria on George Street says the restaurant received an $880 ticket from Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services officers on Sunday afternoon for opening the patio. 

The owner says The Grand Pizzeria allowed people to sit on the patio and enjoy a beverage while waiting for their takeout food.

One customer wrote on Twitter, “No service, just a table and chairs. We ordered takeout and sat at the tables. No different than the people sitting on city benches in front of the ByWard Market building.”

Under Ontario's emergency orders, restaurants and bars can open for takeout and delivery, but not for dine-in service.

Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's heritage, culture, tourism and sport minister, said on Twitter the restaurant should be 'commended not ticketed.'

The Ontario Government is expected to release details on "Stage 2" of reopening businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic this week.

Ottawa By-law and Regulatory Services officers have powers under Ontario's Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to issue an $880 ticket to non-essential businesses opening during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a statement to CTV News on Monday, Director of By-law and Regulatory Services Roger Chapman said there had been "several complains" about the restaurant.

"On Sunday, June 7, By-law and Regulatory Services issued one charge to The Grand restaurant in the ByWard Market for an open patio, in contravention of the Provincial Orders made under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protections Act," Chapman said. "The investigation was launched in response to several complaints. An inspection of the site in question revealed a number of patrons consuming food and alcohol on the restaurant’s patio. In addition, responding officers noted physical distancing was not being practiced."