There was a sense that things are starting to get closer to normal.
Many patrons took to Waterloo just after midnight Friday to enjoy a pint and the company of friends at a pair of patios in Waterloo.
Kentucky Bourbon and Barbecue, and Prohibition Warehouse opened at 12:02 a.m. Friday, just a couple minutes after Ontario entered Step One of the 'Roadmap to Reopen' plan.
Many expressed relief in being able to get out of the house for the first time in a while, and get together with others in a safe way.
Another said while it's nice to get out, doing so is important to support local businesses who have been hard hit by the pandemic.
Morty's Pub was one of many restaurants also eager to open up their patio to customers on Friday.
"We're just so happy to be open. Happy for our staff. Happy for our guests. Happy for other people in the industry who can open up and have also been suffering for a long time," said co-owner of Morty's Pub, Jay Taylor. "This day is glorious."
Taylor said it's time to move forward from the damage done to business during the pandemic.
"Hopefully the city and the region will embrace all these patios and we can keep them for years to come because it brings a positivity and hope and life and vibrancy to our city and our region."
There was also a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday to celebrate the reopening of the patio at Morty's Pub. Taylor said they were also there to celebrate another special occasion.
"This is our 40th year in business. It's great to be opening up the patio, have such a joyous day and also be our 40th anniversary in business."
Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky was also there for the ceremony -- he says he is thrilled to see patios reopening around his city.
"I think there's going to be a lot of patios that people are going to be interested in. I'm going to try and visit as many as I can, even just to say hi and to wish all the best to the servers, bartenders and owners today -- and the citizens."
He added that he has already spoken to a few pub owners who have a message to share. "They're asking for patience today," he said.
"They ask for patience because a lot of the staff have only had 2-3 days of training and they are still getting used to it."
Step One the reopening allows for patios to reopen and outdoor setting limits expand to 10 people with up to four people able to dine together at a patio per table.
Essential retail is capped at 25 per cent capacity, and non-essential retail – such as malls – resume at 15 per cent capacity.
There will be at least 21 days between each stage, meaning Stage Two could take effect as early as July 2, granted Ontario meets the required targets.
See below for a list of loosened restrictions and permitted activities under Step One:
- Up to 10 people outside
- Up to 4 people per table (patio dining)
- Religious services, rites and ceremonies: Capacity limited to permit 2 metres of physical distancing
- Sports, training, and personal training: Up to 10 people
- Day camps
- Campsites and campgrounds
- Ontario Parks
- Horse racing and motor speedways
- Weddings permitted at capacity, limited to permit at least two metres of physical distancing
- Essential retail capacity at 25%
- Non-essential retail capacity at 15%
- With files from Aastha Shetty and The Canadian Press
.@ThePubOnKing will also be opening up at 12 noon and have the capacity to seat over 100 people.— Aastha Shetty (@aastha_shetty) June 11, 2021
The patio features a #pride flag and a massive new tent.
Even cooler is that they’re getting an artist to come around in a couple hours to paint a huge wall mural... 🎨 @570NEWS pic.twitter.com/uEFxcWoOms
.@EthelsLounge will be opening their patio area in about 20 minutes! They are all set up and ready to go. A person working there says they can seat over 100 people outdoors. @570NEWS pic.twitter.com/sPyrURV19A— Aastha Shetty (@aastha_shetty) June 11, 2021