While the Ontario government’s new three-step roadmap to reopen the province gives restaurants a light to look forward to at the end of the tunnel, most dining rooms will have been closed for more than 365 days by the time they are able to reopen. Ontario’s restaurants are going to need further assistance to make up for the lost year they’ve suffered under repeated lockdowns.
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. They’re going to need further funding and sector-specific support to ensure they have the bridge they need to survive until they can reopen once and for all.
Restaurants Canada is continuing to call on the Ontario government to help the province’s foodservice businesses 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 foodservice 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.
Restaurants Canada is calling for a meeting with Premier Ford as soon as possible to lay the groundwork for a sector-specific recovery plan for our hardest-hit industry.