There’s no question that the restaurant industry is being hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems many will be forced to close permanently without sufficient financial assistance.
Restaurants Canada, a national, not-for-profit association working on behalf of the country’s foodservice industry, is warning that a survey they conducted of food industry businesses across the country revealed many are considering closing down permanently in the wake of COVID-19.
They said more than 90 per cent of respondents said they are very worried about the next three months, and most said they need more help from the government in order to survive.
“Our immediate priority is to maintain liquidity for foodservice businesses, who employ 1.2 million workers across the country,” said Shanna Munro, president and CEO of Restaurants Canada, in a statement.
“We commend the necessary actions that various levels of government have taken to keep Canadians safe and are encouraged by measures announced so far to mitigate the disruptive economic impacts of COVID-19,” she continued.
“Given the devastating losses that most restaurants have experienced and are anticipating, they urgently need more immediate support to continue serving their communities during this crisis and beyond.”
The association is recommending several relief measures, on top of those already being implemented by the federal government, in order to help restaurants survive these trying times.
They recommend that:
- Further coordination with the banking sector is needed to make more flexible arrangements readily available, including payment-free periods.
- Flexible arrangements are needed from landlords to allow for payment-free periods. Foodservice operators are looking for a coordinated effort led by government, coupled with no-eviction orders from municipalities to relieve pressure.
- More flexibility as well as a certain level of relief on sales tax payments are needed, as deferrals may contribute to long-term challenges. Flexibility and relief are also critically needed on property taxes at the municipal level.
- Increased assistance is needed from government to avoid laying off staff during periods of little-to-no revenue. More information and support is also needed to help staff who are temporarily out of work access benefits.
“Every day we continue to hear incredible stories about how foodservice operators and our supply chain partners are supporting their communities through these extraordinary times,” Munro said.
“We’re stronger together.”