COVID-19 business supports

To support London businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of London has established a Back to Business (B2B) action team and intake portal. B2B is a temporary initiative designed to provide rapid and flexible responses to business’ requests associated with reopening.

Do you have questions about how the state of emergency and stay at home order may impact your business? Call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. You can also visit the Government of Ontario's Help for Business webpage 

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

How do the latest orders impact my business?

To get answers to your questions, call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. You can also visit the Government of Ontario's Help for Business webpage.

Can my business continue to operate?

To find out the how the state of emergency and stay-at-home-order impact your business operations, please visit the Government of Ontario’s Help for Business webpage.

What supports are in place for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To learn more about business supports, please visit the Government of Ontario’s Help for Business webpage.


Operating patios in the winter

Patios will not be operating during the Provincial State of Emergency and provincial stay-at-home order. The following information applies to the operation of patios once the State of Emergency has ended. 

Temporary measures have been extended to allow outdoor patios to stay operational until April 14, 2021. This extension is designed to help local businesses continue safely providing goods and services in the months ahead, and may change if affected by directives issued by the Province of Ontario. 

Preparing your patio for cooler weather

Please keep the following in mind as the weather changes:

  • Take extra caution as the amount of daylight is reduced.
  • Forecasted heavy snowfall may result in the removal of patios.
  • Pay attention to weather and water drainage conditions which can quickly create potentially hazardous slick pavement (for your patio customers).
  • Keep pedestrian paths free of cables and cords.
Snow removal
  • All Core-Area businesses are required to clear snow on the sidewalk in front of their property.
  • The City of London plows public streets and sidewalks if snowfall accumulations measure eight centimetres.
  • Patio operators are responsible to clear snow within patio enclosures
  • Cleared snow should never be shovelled where it blocks pedestrian travel or loading zones
  • Snow accumulation on private property should remain stored on private property
  • Patio equipment should be placed to ensure it does not pose a hazard to, or become damaged from, snow removal machinery.
Portable heating units

Heaters, including fire fueled appliances like propane patio heaters, will be allowed on outdoor patios in London, including sidewalks. The London Fire Department has provided a set of safe operation guidelines below on this update. It is critically important that you read, understand and follow all safety requirements for any heating devices used.

Your heater must:

  • be certified by CSA/ULC
  • meet the requirements of TSSA Act 2000
  • be designed for outdoor use only
  • have an anti-tilt feature that automatically shuts off the heater
  • be free-standing, with a minimum height of 160 cm (65inches) Table top heating appliances are not permitted
Tents and enclosures
  • Please remember, for public safety and accessibility reasons, nothing may be drilled or affixed to the sidewalk or roadway, or attached to sidewalk sign posts, streetlights or trees.
  • Do not operate a fueled heating appliance in any enclosed or partially enclosed area.
  • Tents or combinations of tents covering over 60m2 (six 10x10 tents) require a building permit.
  • Any roof structure greater than 10m2 that is not fabric covered e.g. a tent, requires a building permit.

  • Removing tents when patios are not operating is recommended as a safety precaution.
  • All tents must be a minimum of 3m away from any other building or structure.

Required Action: If your insurance coverage is adversely affected by the material change in risk associated with your patio, you must contact to notify the City of the changes to your insurance coverage. 

General safety requirements

London Fire Prevention guidelines for the safe use of heaters on outdoor patios

It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the safe installation, operation and maintenance of portable outdoor patio heating units. Follow all manufacturer guidelines for assembly, installation and maintenance of the appliance. Seek the assistance of a qualified professional if required.

The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs has partnered with the Technical Standards and Safety Association on the Safe Use of Heaters on Outdoor Patios

Fueled heating appliances

If you choose to use a propane or other fire fueled heating appliance, please ensure you closely follow these specific safety guidelines:

  • Do not store the propane tank indoors.
  • A maximum of one (1) day’s supply of propane can be stored on site.
  • The maximum allowable propane tank size is a single 20 lb tank (approximately 10 hours of operation).
  • Do not move portable heater while the flame is open. Ensure the gas supply is properly shut off and the unit is cool before relocating.
  • Follow all manufacturer safety requirements for the safe transportation, operation and storage of fuel ​​​​.​
Installation requirements

DO install your heater:

  • on a non-combustible solid surface (i.e. not on grass or uneven sidewalk)
  • out of the wind, as wind negatively impacts efficiency and can create a hazard if the unit is blown over
  • with a minimum of one metre (three feet) clearance from the base of the unit to any combustible material

DO NOT install your portable heating appliance:

  • under fire escapes
  • within a means of egress or adjacent to an exit
  • underneath a combustible structure (i.e. canopies, awnings, tents, wood framework)
  • adjacent to or otherwise obstructing firefighting equipment like fire hydrants or Siamese connections ​​​​​​
  • near or attached to trees, utilities or other street elements

All questions regarding these guidelines can be directed to The London Fire Department at

Always refer to the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) for the latest public health advice and workplace safety guidance

Learn more about B2B

Back to Business brings together city staff from permitting, bylaw enforcement, parking, roads and transportation, business relations, planning, and the Clerk’s office, among others, with a goal of expediting requests so that businesses can get back to serving their customers safely.

Since its launch on June 9, The City of London’s B2B team has assisted with requests for space allowance for curbside pick-up and sidewalk customer queues, as well as temporary measures using public space for expanded outdoor patios and merchandise displays.


Last modified:Friday, January 15, 2021