More than half of Canadian restaurants might be forced to close down in the next three months as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to deter people from eating out despite the recent reopenings.
Restaurants Canada, a lobby group speaking on behalf of around 30,000 food service companies, said that 31% of eateries will be able to operate for only 90 days more, while 29% cannot function under current social distancing policies.
“If we don’t ask for support, or if there’s a second wave, there’s going to be massive bankruptcies across the industry,” said David Lefebvre, vice president of Restaurants Canada.
In its recent survey, Colliers International found similar results, with around 47% of retail tenants in Canada saying that their space needs will decrease. Around 10% said that they will be shutting down their businesses soon.
“We expect the trend around permanent closures to increase given the slow recovery in consumer demand and limitations created by physical distancing,” said Jane Domenico, senior vice president at Colliers Canada.
And while employment in the food service sector has recovered over half of the approximately 800,000 jobs it has lost due to the coronavirus, the next few months represent another looming threat to the industry, Lefebvre said in an interview with The Kingston Whig-Standard.
“Patios soon won’t be available, because it’s going to be winter in Canada,” Lefebvre said. “That’s going to reduce capacity a lot.”
Restaurants Canada called on the federal government to consider extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy benefit beyond 2020, and to introduce a more effective rent relief program.