Note: This story has been updated.
The Forty Public House in Grimsby has closed its patio until further notice. This comes after a visit from town bylaw officials.
Mark Wood, owner of the iconic Grimsby pub, located on Grimsby’s downtown Main Street strip, posted about the interaction on Facebook after conversations with town staff resulted in Wood shutting down the Main Street pub patio.
Wood opened the patio after Niagara Region entered Phase Two of the province’s reopening plan on June 19.
At the time, Wood posted this announcement on The Forty Pub’s Facebook page: “Our patio is even smaller than before to meet the guidelines… but… it is open! 12pm to 9pm, reservations required, 1.5 hour time slots, call 905-309-4040 to book your slot for today or tomorrow! We cannot wait to serve you again! See you at The Pub!”
But that enthusiasm for being back in business with outdoor eat-in customers was short lived.
Grimsby bylaw officers came by with a tape measure to ensure the restaurant was compliant with town regulations.
A follow-up email from the town to Wood two days later said the patio paperwork wasn’t done in time, and that the patio had to be shut down until it was properly processed. The pub’s insurance coverage was also inadequate for patio operations.
Harry Schlange, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Grimsby, told Niagara Info that space limitations required for adequate social distancing limit The Forty Pub’s patio seating space. Paired with the town’s insurance requirements “make it difficult and prohibitively expensive to operate the patio.”
Schlange added: “We have looked to help him find more space, extending it maybe next door, or at the back…but I think waiting on Stage 3 will make it more viable.”
Stage 3 of Ontario’ post-Covid-19 reopening plan is expected later this summer as Covid-19 infections in the province continue to fall.
In a statement posted to The Forty Public House Facebook page, Wood had said : “The town of Grimsby that have chosen 2020 and a pandemic to crack down on bylaws no one has held anyone accountable for in the five years I have been operating. The Forty Public House is forced at this time to announce we no longer have a patio.”
Wood also owns the Grantham House in St. Catharines.