ST. JOHN’S, Nfld. — In last week’s budget announcement, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced measures to help the province pull through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but Restaurants Canada is calling for more-targeted assistance for the province’s struggling foodservice sector.
Budget 2020: Today. Tomorrow. Together — announced September 30 — included a $30 million Small Business Assistance Program to help offset expenses and innovation required to respond to COVID-19. Of that $30 million, $25 million will be directed towards small businesses and $5 million towards community-based organizations.
“Not only was Newfoundland’s restaurant industry among the first and hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19, the sector will also be among the slowest to recover,” says Luc Erjavec, Restaurants Canada vice-president, Atlantic Canada. “The newly announced Small Business Assistance Program is desperately needed and is a great first step. Restaurants Canada looks forward to working with the new Premier and his team to build on the commitments unveiled today, to provide more targeted assistance for the province’s foodservice businesses going forward.”
According to a recent Restaurants Canada survey, the majority of Newfoundland’s restaurants are still not profitable, with 44 per cent of survey respondents saying they’re operating at a loss and 25 per cent saying they’re just breaking even. More than half of restaurants still operating at a loss expect to take at least a year to return to profitability.