A restaurant in Ottawa's Byward Market received a hefty fine after allowing takeout orders to be eaten on its patio. What was meant to help customers out turned out to be an $880 fine for The Grand Pizzeria and Bar on June 7. The owner says the fine "makes no sense."

Co-Owner John Borsten spoke with Narcity on Monday, June 8 and explained his frustration and annoyance.

Borsten says the decision to let customers eat their takeout orders on their patio was something they didn't think was wrong.

He'd noted that many of his customers would eat their food at the park or sidewalk, which he suggests isn't the most hygienic or the safest thing to be doing right now.

"Makes no sense to me or made no sense to me that people could take my food and they can sit at a sidewalk or at a park bench, but they couldn't sit on my patio which is just sitting there," Borsten told Narcity.

"We can clean the patio after you're done with it and you can use the bathrooms," he said, noting the apparent advantages of allowing onsite consumption.

The Grand's patio only had 10 tables out on Sunday and Borsten says that social distancing was amplified and the guidelines were followed.

"There was so much social distancing, there was no party going on, it was just people sitting. They ordered their food, they got a table, when the food was ready, they came up and picked up their own food," said Borsten.

"We did not serve them in any way. When they were finished with eating, and they ate out of takeout containers, they put the stuff in the garbage we provided, and then they left and we disinfected the tables and if they wanted to use the bathrooms, they did that," he added.

It seems at least one provincial MPP agrees.

Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, suggested that the business should be "commended" for their initiative rather than given a ticket.

"As the Minister responsible for food service their proactivity excited my sense of opportunity!" she said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, there was some good news for restaurant owners in Ontario on Monday, although it came too late for Borsten and Co.

It was announced today that "outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments can now reopen.

That includes patios, curbside, parking lots, and adjacent properties, as long as proper social distancing is still in place.

So, it seems like with this recent news, patio infractions outside the GTHA could now be a thing of the past.

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