Toronto mayor pushes for earlier alcohol sales during World Cup

Mayor John Tory says he wants to allow Toronto establishments to sell alcohol earlier than normal during the World Cup and will bring the issue to city council next week.

A statement released by the mayor’s office Wednesday said City staff indicated there were “no issues” when alcohol sale hours were extended during past World Cup tournaments.

The statement noted that businesses were “severely impacted” by COVID-19 restrictions in recent years and Tory wants to “continue to find unique opportunities to ensure our establishments can come back stronger than ever and to support jobs.”

The 2022 FIFA World Cup takes place in Qatar between Nov. 20 and Dec. 18. The time difference between Toronto and Qatar will lead to some early-morning games.

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Tory will bring the issue of earlier alcohol sales forward to city council at its first meeting next week for approval on Nov. 24, taking effect the following day.

A letter Tory addressed to city council members calls for alcohol sales in the city to be allowed in establishments starting at 8 a.m. between Nov. 25 and Dec. 18, which is one hour earlier than normal.

The mayor noted that under the provincial Liquor License Act, the City can pass a bylaw extending the hours of sale for alcohol.

“We are happy to help our restaurants and bars during the 2022 World Cup,” Tory said in a statement.

“I hope this extra hour of alcohol service will help establishments planning to show the 8 a.m. games.”

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