Published Sep 21, 2020Toronto's Dakota Tavern could be forced to close its doors permanently as a result of issues with venue insurance policies.
As BlogTO points out, owner Stephen Reid outlined insurance-related issues in a Facebook post made last week, indicating that the future of the beloved live music venue and restaurant is uncertain.
"It doesn't matter if you are a night club that can accommodate thousands or a mom-and-pop diner that seats a dozen," the statement reads. "The insurance industry is not, with very few exceptions, renewing policies for bars and restaurants. They have been happy to take our money whilst we were closed with no rebates or adjustments."
Reid wrote, "Now that policies are up for renewal they refuse to provide insurance even to venues that have been in business for years with no claims."
Posting on the page of Castro's Lounge, his second establishment in the city's East end, Reid noted that space was able to renew in May, while the Dakota Tavern "now faces a one-month countdown to permanent closure if the insurance issue cannot be resolved."
"We got the Castro's renewed in May with no problems, but as the COVID situation has developed, the insurance broker was telling me that insurers were backing off of the restaurant and bar industry, particularly with live music venues," Reid told BlogTO. "The current company that is insuring us is no longer willing to even consider it."
Reid's current insurance policy on the venue expires on October 18, and he told the site that the broker would not renew due to pandemic-related liability. "If an outbreak happens and people trace it back to the bar, then the bar will be doomed. That's my understanding," he said.
The Dakota Tavern has called for community support on social media in recent weeks, offering craft beer and bar snacks for takeaway. The venue was one for 45 independent establishments across the city to be granted property tax relief as COVID-19 restrictions continue to affect live performance.
Toronto live music venues like the Hoxton, the Silver Dollar Room, Coalition and Hugh's Room have shuttered in recent years due to new developments or rising rent prices, while spaces including the Beaver, Orbit Room and the Hideout have shuttered as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.