Photo: Colin Dacre / dossier
Restaurant terraces and interior seats remain closed during the COVID-19 crisis.
For almost 10% of restaurants in Canada, the cost of not doing business is too heavy to bear.
The restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit by the mandatory closings issued by provincial health directives as the country faces the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restaurants, bars and pubs are closed across the country. Many offer takeaway delivery or reduced staff delivery.
According to a survey by Restaurants Canada, up to 10% of all restaurants in the county have closed permanently. Another 18 percent say they will do the same if current conditions remain.
About 800,000 food service workers have laid off temporarily or permanently across the country, including more than 120,000 in British Columbia.
If conditions persist, further layoffs are planned.
“Not only has our industry been among the first to feel the effects of COVID-19, but we have been one of the hardest hit so far, with almost two-thirds of our workforce now lost” said Shanna Munro, President and CEO of Restaurants Canada. .
“In our 75 years of existence as Canada’s national food service association, these are by far the worst numbers we have ever seen. “
British Columbia’s $ 15 billion restaurant industry represents 5% of the province’s GDP and is the province’s third largest private sector employer. If conditions do not improve, Restaurants Canada estimates that British Columbia food service sales for the second quarter of 2020 will decrease by more than $ 3 billion.
“While our members appreciate the government relief measures announced so far, the reality is a growing part of British Columbia. restaurateurs are considering a permanent closure because they cannot afford to operate without income, “said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada.
“Urgent additional assistance is needed to help these businesses survive or there will be fewer jobs for the thousands of restaurant workers temporarily laid off once the social distancing measures are lifted.”
The association is asking the government for additional help with rent relief, access to working capital and the expansion of the wage subsidy program.