Most of Windsor-Essex is officially moving into Stage 2 of Provincial regulations for the COVID-19 pandemic, but, what does this mean for the hospitality and tourism industries and their customers?

We’ve been hearing a lot of different things from the public and restaurant owners that aren’t necessarily factual, so to clarify things we’re going to dive into what is and isn’t permitted by restaurants, wineries, breweries, tour operators and others during Stage 2. The information we’re sourcing is directly from the Province of Ontario’s, “A Framework for Reopening our Province: Stage 2″.


Restaurants, bars, food trucks and other food and drink establishments can open for dining in outdoor areas only, such as patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent premises. This includes wineries, breweries and distilleries.

  • Appropriate measures must be put into place to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres between guests from different households, including. This includes:
    • using reservations
    • limiting number of guests allowed in the outdoor space at one time
    • ensuring enough space between tables, while still respecting the 2 metres of space for those moving/walking between tables.
    • access to indoor facilities is limited to patio/outdoor dining area access, food pickup, payment, washrooms or other health and safety purposes
  • Liquor sales licensees who wish to temporarily extend the physical size of their existing licensed patio, or temporarily add a new licensed patio within the approved period are authorized to do so, if all the following criteria are met:
    • the physical extension of the premises is adjacent to the premises to which the licence to sell liquor applies
    • the municipality in which the premises is situated does not object to an extension
    • the licensee is able to demonstrate sufficient control over the physical extension of the premises

What does all that jargon above mean? It means it that business owners are absolutely not permitted to serve any food or drink indoors at any time during Stage 2.

Also, for Stage 2 of re-opening, patios must be open to the air; no tents/structures/canopies are permitted. Umbrellas are allowed for sun shade.



Indoor and outdoor tour and guide services will be allowed to resume.This includes:

  • resource-based tours (for example, hunting, fishing and similar excursions)
  • tastings and tours for operators of on-site retail stores at manufacturing sites (for example, wineries, breweries and distilleries)
  • trail riding, walking and bike tours
  • motor vehicle and boat tours (for example, for sightseeing)

To comply with regulations and be permitted to operation:

  • Businesses should consider operating by advance bookings and/or record each guest name and contact information for the purpose of contact tracing.
  • Guests must adhere to physical distancing measures and limits to public gatherings.
  • Equipment may be rented as needed as part of the tours. Equipment should be properly cleaned and disinfected in between rentals.
  • Access to production areas for tours of food and beverage manufacturing sites is permitted, as long as operators can follow workplace guidance and public health advice to ensure quality and cleanliness of products. Eating or drinking can occur in licensed outdoor spaces but is not permitted indoors.

What does all that mean? First, tours can begin operating at the Provincial limit of a social gathering (10 people, including the guides/staff). Also, places like wineries, breweries and distilleries can offer facility/manufacturing tours of their operations, however at no time are they permitted any consumption of food or drink indoors.

In short, absolutely no eating or drinking indoors is allowed for any businesses during Stage 2. Outdoor dining and drinking only.