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The majority of restaurants in Canada are at risk of permanently shutting down by November 2020, a new survey has found.

The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), produced by Statistics Canada with support from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, shows that 29 per cent of accommodation and food service businesses cannot operate at all with physical distancing measures in place.

A further 31 per cent say they can only operate up to 90 days with distancing measures in effect, which means that within three months, up to 60 per cent of Canadian restaurants could close their doors.

According to Restaurants Canada, the food service industry lost 800,000 jobs when COVID-19 first hit Canada, and around 83 per cent of accommodation and food service businesses temporarily closed and laid off staff.

With distancing restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, the sector is expected to experience a period of prolonged suffering in the absence of consistent financial relief from the federal government.

As a result, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has launched an ‘Our Restaurants’ campaign to put a spotlight on issues faced by the industry.

“We need to act now. Across Canada, our restaurants are where we meet for business or pleasure, where we got our first job and where our families spend a night out. Simply put, our restaurants are cornerstones in our communities,” said Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“The ‘Our Restaurants’ campaign underscores the urgent need for Canadians—both the public and our governments—to come together to support these businesses in their time of need.”

Restaurant chains and businesses representing several brands have come together to highlight the effects of high costs, fewer customers, and government programs ill-equipped for the long-term challenges faced by the industry.

The campaign features a website that carries a list of restaurants it represents, and encourages Canadians to do two things to support restaurants:

Pick up dinner or dine in at a local restaurant, and tell elected representatives to support the food service industry by sending them this letter.

 

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