1 min

Bars compromise

Toronto police and Church St bar owners have been busy hammering out a deal on head counts in time for Pride.

At a meeting between bar owners, Supt Aiden Maher, Det Danny Bell and police liaison officer Judy Nosworthy, the two sides discussed how the police do head counts in bars and how the process can be improved.

In the past, if police counted more patrons than a bar’s maximum capacity and the manager disagreed, the police would do a “count out,” meaning everyone would have to leave the bar to be counted on their way out. Owners took issue with this procedure because some patrons would not return to the bar once the count was finished.

At the meeting last month, the two sides agreed that the police would do a head count. If they determined the bar was over capacity, the manager would go with the police and do a count with them. A count out would take place if there was still a disagreement.

“In terms of a compromise, yes, it’s a good one,” says Gary Manz, owner of Crews/Tango. But he says there’s a downside since he now must pay for additional security.

Crews/Tango was closed down for two weeks in February and fined due to overcrowding. Manz said that prior to the bar being closed, cops would drop by about once a month.

Dean Odorico, general manager of Woody’s, says his bar has also undergone additional costs due to increased security to prevent overcrowding. Over the past year the bar has hired extra security people, began using a radio security system and installed alarms on the back doors.

Odorico says the compromise is fair. Woody’s capacity is checked by police about twice a month.

“The last thing you want is to have them clear your bar,” Odorico says.