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Restaurants demand meeting with Ford to discuss recovery plan (Poll)

If the Ontario government is going to shut down the province, two groups representing restaurants and hotels want taxpayers to pay for it.

Restaurants Canada and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association penned an open letter to Premier Doug Ford calling for at least $100-million to support those businesses during the latest shutdown.

Claiming the restaurant industry in Ontario alone can expect to lose more than $20-billion in sales because of the pandemic, the groups want to meet with Ford as soon as possible to discuss a sector-specific recovery plan.

"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 Restaurants Canada Vice President, Central Canada, James Rilett. "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."

The groups also demand more funding through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant program, an amendment to the rules to ensure all food service establishments are eligible, a separate program to cover reopening and closure costs, and an expansion of the property tax and energy cost rebate programs.

Further, they want the government to eliminate the 6 per cent markup to buy alcohol from the LCBO and consider patio dining a safe alternative to private gatherings in homes.

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Health units have blamed private gatherings for community clusters of COVID-19 across the province.

The groups claim the pain of repeated shutdowns has not been shared evenly across industries, and restaurants have suffered unfairly.

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