Following yet another abrupt amendment that saw Ontario’s recently-eased restrictions suddenly revert back to a provincewide lockdown, Restaurants Canada and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) are now calling on the Ontario government to reimburse the province’s restaurant industry for damages of more than $100 million.
“Our Ontario members have told us they lose about $10,000 every time one of their establishments is suddenly ordered to shut down dining services,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Central Canada. “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.”
In an open letter to Premier Doug Ford, Restaurants Canada and ORHMA pointed out that restaurants have been unfairly singled out and that restrictive public health measures should not be exclusive to just one industry.
The two organizations are also asking that property tax and energy cost rebate programs as well as funding through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant program be extended to foodservice establishments, along with the implementation of a sector-specific program that would cover reopening and closure costs such as wasted inventory and staffing costs.
They have also asked that patio dining remain available as an alternative to private gatherings and are calling for the immediate end to the 6 per cent markup that restaurants pay to purchase alcohol from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
In addition to their open letter, Restaurants Canada and ORHMA have asked Premier Ford for the opportunity to meet as soon as possible to lay the groundwork for a sector-specific recovery plan.