Vittoria Trattoria faces $880 fine for patio tent violation
OTTAWA -- The co-owner of Vittoria Trattoria on Rivergate Way says he was given an $880 fine by Ottawa Bylaw this weekend for violating the Provincial Order on patio tents.
Dom Santaguida says his patio tent had one side open, offering what he felt was adequate airflow. He says opening both sides of the tent on a cool evening, even with heaters, defeats its purpose.
"It’s just difficult to try and plan for rain going sideways and trying to keep people comfortable and dry in this type of weather without it being enclosed," he said.
Currently, the Provincial Order requires that at least two sides of a tent or canopy be open for proper airflow. As a result, Santaguida says Ottawa Bylaw issued a ticket for non-compliance with that order on Sunday.
Santaguida says since the pandemic started, Vittoria Trattoria has been committed to safety, but he didn't know the extent of the rules.
"I understand the rules and regulations; I guess I didn’t understand what the extent of being open was," Santaguida said, "or what we thought was adequate airflow. According to Bylaw it needs to be 50 per cent open."
Santaguida says he thinks some of the guidelines that have been returned for restaurants are unfair, questioning why big box stores remain open while a partially closed outdoor patio tent is considered a violation.
On Wednesday, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches addressed a similar question about restaurants and big box stores when speaking before City Council.
"The challenge with restaurants and bars is we know people take off their masks to eat and drink, so there is more of a risk there, potentially, based on what we see in other jurisdictions," Dr. Etches said.
Santaguida says he wants to see the data or link between COVID-19 and restaurants, adding that he thinks there should be uniform treatment for businesses.
"It doesn’t become viable for (restaurants), so it means more layoffs and more hardships," he said.
Santaguida was fined the same weekend owners at Fratelli in Kanata say Ottawa Bylaw warned them to open their patio tent or face a fine.
In a statement, Roger Chapman, the Director for By-law and Regulatory Services writes: "We understand the difficulties facing businesses in Ottawa. However, current Provincial Orders prohibit restaurants from providing dine-in service. While restaurants may continue offering patio service, tents must comply with the Orders."