TORONTO — A Restaurants Canada survey of foodservice businesses across the country has revealed many are considering closing down permanently in the wake of COVID-19.
Facing a new reality of little-to-no income without a clear end date in sight, more than 90 per cent of respondents said they are very worried about the next three months. Most said they need help from government.
“Our immediate priority is to maintain liquidity for foodservice businesses, who employ 1.2 million workers across the country,” says Shanna Munro, Restaurants Canada president and CEO. “We commend the necessary actions 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. Given the devastating losses most restaurants have experienced and are anticipating, they urgently need more immediate support to continue serving their communities during this crisis and beyond.”
On behalf of the country’s more than 90,000 foodservice establishments, Restaurants Canada recommends strengthening relief in the following areas so that restaurants can survive the unprecedented challenges they’re facing:
• Loans and mortgages: Further coordination with the banking sector is needed to make more flexible arrangements readily available, including payment-free periods.
• Rent: 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.
• Taxes: 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.
• Labour: Increased assistance is needed from government to avoid laying off staff during periods of little-to-no revenue. More information and support are 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,” adds Munro. “We’re stronger together.”