It’s a dire time for the restaurant business. According to a recent survey, 60% of Canadian restaurants might not survive until the new year.
For most restaurants, simply being open isn’t enough. Mandatory social distancing measures mean many can’t accommodate the number of diners required to run a profitable business.
According to the survey, which was conducted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, 29 per cent of food service businesses can’t operate at all with social distancing in effect. A further 31% can only operate with social distancing for 90 days.
“If you take half the seats out of a restaurant because of social distancing it is simply a matter of mathematics. There is simply no way you can make it work no matter how hard you try,” said CEO and President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Perrin Beatty. “It’s very worrisome.”
The only solution seems to be government support, of which there has been more or less none to date. Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently said, “hopefully we can get to a stage where they can spread out the tables and at least try to keep the doors open.” We are now at that stage and restaurants cannot keep the doors open.
Overall, the Canadian restaurant industry stands to lose $20 billion over a year due to COVID-19.