Newfoundland and Labrador is the only province in the country to ban restaurants from selling take-out and deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Restaurants Canada, an organization that represents companies in the industry. food service.
Todd Perrin, owner of Mallard Cottage and Waterwest Kitchen and Meats, lobbied the provincial government to authorize sales during the pandemic.
“It is money that is tied up in our businesses,” he said. “It’s just a dead weight. “
Restaurants cannot open their dining rooms under N.L.’s public health emergency orders, although they are allowed to sell meals for delivery or pickup.
However, adding alcohol to the order is prohibited, which has been a challenge for restaurants, which typically depend on sales of wine, beer and spirits to increase their income.
Perrin told CBC Radio’s St. John’s Morning Show beer and wine sales will give restaurants a better chance of survival and another source of income.
“Instead of bringing in 30% of what you would normally bring in income, you are bringing in 40% of what you normally bring in by opening up this opportunity,” he said.
The law must change
However, to allow sales, the province would have to open the House of Assembly and change the law.
Perrin said allowing sales would help struggling restaurants, especially since the province has few financial incentives to help businesses.
All the provinces have joined this crisis and we would really like to see Newfoundland and Labrador follow suit.– Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada
The dining rooms of the province’s restaurants have been empty for three and a half weeks.
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Chief Medical Officer of Health, first ordered restaurants to operate at 50% on March 18. On March 23, she ordered the complete closure of the dining rooms.
The province’s restaurant industry says it has already cut 10,000 jobs since the pandemic.
Luc Erjavec, vice-president of Restaurants Canada, urges the provincial government to do all it can to help as the coronavirus pandemic continues. He said that some restaurants have thousands of dollars in stock.
“Every province has joined this crisis and we would really like to see Newfoundland and Labrador follow suit,” he said.
“This is an important way to put some money in the pockets of restaurateurs, perhaps allow them to hire a few more people, serve their customers and even give the government a little income,” said Erjavec.
Provincial support, but no action
Erjavec said the province plans to change the law to allow sales when the MHAs sat three weeks ago, but the change hasn’t happened.
He said he spoke with Minister of Finance Tom Osborne and other MHAs, who he says support sales.
Premier Dwight Ball also supported the idea during Monday’s COVID-19 daily briefing, but said the last session of the House focused on the province’s financial situation.
“The priority for the first session was to put us in a situation where we could actually borrow to get services paid for in our province,” said Ball.
Meanwhile, Perrin wonders if a decree – a cabinet decree – would do the trick.
“They can make our lives easier through regulatory means and all it takes is a pencil stroke,” said Perrin.
However, Erjavec said the prospects for many restaurants were dire.
According to a survey of members last week, 10% of participating restaurants said they had already closed permanently and almost 20% said they could only last a few more weeks.
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