Response to Ontario’s plans to reopen indoor dining

Published January 20, 2022

Restaurants Canada appreciates today’s announcement from the Ontario government, in response to our request for clear guidance for reopening indoor dining.

While our Ontario members were hopeful they would be able to welcome back guests after the most recently imposed public health order was set to end on Jan. 26, they are relieved by the provincial government’s commitment to start phasing out dining restrictions and look forward to making preparations to reopen at half capacity on Jan. 31.

In the meantime, with restaurants continuing to take on more and more debt due to the province’s latest round of restrictions, Restaurants Canada is continuing to call for the following measures to ensure they can survive and recover:

  • A deferral of HST payments to help restaurants preserve cash flow.
  • An increase in funding available through the Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant, as well as an expansion of the eligibility requirements — this program currently fails to ensure hard-hit restaurant operators with more than 100 staff across multiple locations will be able to access sufficient support to cover closing and reopening costs for each of their establishments.
  • A re-imposition of Ontario’s moratorium on commercial tenant evictions, which expired on Dec. 31, 2021.

Further support is urgently needed to keep restaurants on road to recovery

According to a Restaurants Canada survey conducted in the summer of 2021: 8 out of 10 independent restaurant operators have taken on debt due to the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Nearly 75% said they’d taken on more than $50,000 in debt.
  • 25% said they’d taken on between $100,000 and $500,000 in debt.
  • Nearly half (43%) of those in debt said it will take more than 18 months for their business to recover.
Marlee Wasser

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