Restaurants need data and more immediate support to survive indoor dining closures

Published October 16, 2020

Restaurants Canada is calling for urgently needed support, and data to prevent further dining closures, as an increasing number of jurisdictions continue to be targeted with heightened restrictions.

TORONTO — Restaurants Canada is calling for more immediate support to businesses suffering the consequences of indoor dining closures in COVID-19 hot spots, as well as data to prevent further restrictions.

“Our members need to understand what’s driving government decisions and how they can do their part to avoid suffering the devastating consequences of indoor dining closures. We’ve been asking for this data for weeks,” said Restaurants Canada President and CEO Todd Barclay. “Restaurants also need to know what emergency assistance they can rely on to pull through periods of heightened restrictions and continue serving their communities.”

Recommendations for emergency support

Restaurants Canada is calling on all levels of government to take immediate action and urgently support foodservice businesses with:

  • Data on the effectiveness of COVID-19 containment efforts among the foodservice sector so the industry can address areas for improvement and avoid further restrictions.
  • A coordinated effort between federal and provincial governments to protect commercial tenants from evictions until financial assistance becomes available through the new rent relief program.
  • Pressure on insurance companies to rein in skyrocketing rates and honour business interruption claims.
  • Emergency assistance programs similar to the Quebec compensation system for restaurants forced to close in targeted areas.
  • Stronger enforcement and penalties for flagrant violations of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • A “seal of approval” inspection program to clearly differentiate violators from responsible restaurant operators and improve consumer confidence.
  • Consultation with industry to streamline contact tracing with existing or developing technology.

Indoor dining closures will cost Ontario in restaurant sales and jobs

Restaurants Canada estimates that indoor dining closures mandated in Ontario’s COVID-19 hot spots will result in:

  • Sales losses of as much as 80 per cent for full-service restaurants and more than 40 per cent for quick-service restaurants.
  • Tens of thousands of jobs lost across the province:
    • 12,000 in Ottawa
    • 33,000 in Toronto
    • 14,900 in Peel Region
    • 8,800 in York Region

About Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada is a national, not-for-profit association advancing the potential of Canada’s diverse and dynamic foodservice industry through member programs, research, advocacy, resources and events. Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s foodservice sector was a $93 billion industry, directly employing 1.2 million people, providing Canada’s number one source of first jobs and serving 22 million customers across the country every day. The industry has since lost hundreds of thousands jobs and could lose as much as $44.8 billion in sales in 2020 due to the impacts of COVID-19.


For more information, contact:

James Rilett
Vice President, Central Canada
Restaurants Canada
C: 416-738-9546

Roberto Sarjoo
Director, Marketing and Communications
Restaurants Canada
C: 416-389-7941

Marlee Wasser
Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations
Restaurants Canada
T: 416-649-4254
Toll-free: 1-800-387-5649 ext. 4254

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