Open letter calls for Swift Action to Reverse Impacts of Restaurant dining closures

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@RestaurantsCA @ORHMA @RestaurantsONMB #restaurants

Two organizations representing restaurants and workers in the foodservice industry have called on the Ford government to reverse its decision to close patios around the province as part of a one-month province-wide shutdown.

In an open letter to Premier Doug Ford, Restaurants Canada and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association are calling for the following actions to reverse the devastating impacts of dining closures:

  • For public health measures to be fair and effective, all industries must be impacted equally.
  • Patio dining should remain available as an alternative to private gatherings, as safe options for enjoying outdoor activities are important for people’s mental health.
  • All restaurants should be supported financially to mitigate rising debt in the following ways:
  • Further funding through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant program and an amendment to the rules to ensure every food service establishment is able to receive funding.
  • A sector-specific program for covering reopening/closure costs such as wasted inventory, staffing costs, patio setup/takedown, etc.
  • An expansion of the property tax and energy cost rebate programs to include all foodservice businesses that have been impacted by Red-Control level restrictions.
  • An immediate end to the 6% markup that restaurants pay to buy alcohol from the LCBO.

“Our Ontario members have told us they lose about $10,000 every time one of their establishments is suddenly ordered to shut down dining services,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Central Canada. “For a restaurant that’s been through three lockdowns, the province’s $20,000 small business grant hardly covers their closing and reopening costs, let alone compensation for revenue lost while shut down.”

Restaurants Canada and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association have asked Premier Ford for the opportunity to meet as soon as possible to lay the groundwork for a sector-specific recovery plan.

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