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Coronavirus: Toronto bar apologizes for large crowds seen on patio

A photo of crowding at a bar in Toronto. Twitter / Bill Davis @BillDavis__

A Toronto bar is apologizing after videos and photos surfaced on social media appearing to show crowds of people crammed on its patio over the weekend.

Mahjong Bar, located on Dundas Street West near Dovercourt Road, was filmed with dozens of patrons spilled onto the patio section appearing to show very little physical distancing.

In a statement, the bar responded to the criticism saying, “We’re deeply saddened by the outcome of Saturday evening.”

“What ended up happening was so far from our intentions, and we take full accountability for what took place. What was meant to be a small community get together ballooned into a much larger gathering than anticipated.”

Mahjong Bar said they shut down the event earlier than scheduled due to crowding but “it wasn’t soon enough.”

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“To fail to provide a clean and safe environment for our guests and the local community is a deep disappointment and regret we will live with, learn from and ensure to never make the same mistakes in the future,” the statement ended.

Toronto police said they received a call about the overcrowding but it was referred to 311.

Toronto Public Health told Global News it received a complaint on Monday alleging non-compliance with physical distancing requirements at Mahjong Bar.

“An investigation will be conducted as soon as possible,” Toronto Public Health said.

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Some people ended up on a patio at a bar next door, The Dock Ellis, which also faced backlash

“We feel it is important to mention that the large crowd that formed near The Dock Ellis was not planned or organised by us, we put up signage asking people to follow social & physical distance rules,” the bar said in a statement on Twitter.

“We constantly instructed people to follow the guidelines [and] hope everyone is safe.”

This isn’t the first bar to face criticism for overcrowding amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Coronavirus: Video showing Toronto restaurant patrons crammed together triggers investigation

In July, Instagram videos surfaced of MARBL appearing to show dozens of people crammed into a partially outdoor seating section surrounded by unmasked employees carrying drinks.

At that time, Toronto was still in Stage 2 and the venue said the patrons were brought under a covered portion of the patio due to thunderstorms.

The mayor said public health measures, regardless of weather, apply to all restaurants and bars.

— With files from The Canadian Press.

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