A coalition of business groups wants action from government to save the food service industry, in a July 20, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A coalition of business groups wants action from government to save the food service industry, in a July 20, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Groups call for urgent action to help restaurant industry amid COVID-19

Action needed by all levels of government

A coalition of business groups is calling for “urgent action” from all levels of government to save the food service industry amid the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many businesses are now working to reopen and recover,” wrote the group — which includes Molson Coors Beverage Co., Restaurants Canada, and more than a dozen regional chambers of commerce and boards of trade — in an open letter dated Monday to the prime minister, Council of the Federation and Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

“However for the food service industry, the picture is different.”

The industry will be among the last to resume normal operations, the group wrote, estimating a span of at least the next 12 to 18 months.

Restaurants operate on thin margins in regular circumstances, it said, thanks to high fixed costs, perishable inventory and other factors. Safety precautions due to the pandemic further limit revenue and increase costs.

“Continued operation for the majority of our restaurants is, at best, uncertain,” the letter reads.

“Government programs as they are presently designed are not equipped for the timescale of this ongoing reality for this industry.”

The group asked the federal government to implement proposed improvements to the emergency wage subsidy and continue to create incentives for people to return to return to work. It asks them to eliminate the automatic annual federal excise tax increase on beer, wine and spirits, and start encouraging people to resume pre-COVID activities with safety measures.

The group asks the federal, provincial and territorial governments to extend the rent relief program, remove a revenue eligibility cap for parent companies, and look for a way to substantially increase participation in the program.

It wants provincial and territorial governments to put a moratorium on commercial evictions and expand liquor licensing or make licensing changes related to COVID-19 permanent in an effort to allow more restaurants to sell alcohol for dine in and takeaway.

Municipal governments should reduce or defer a number of taxes and fees, including property tax, as well as ease regulatory burdens, it said.

“The urgency of action cannot be overstated,” the letter reads as without it businesses will close and jobs will be lost.

“Delays will risk the situation rapidly becoming permanently untenable.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2020.

Restaurants

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine deliveres to Canada are being delayed because of complications at their European distribution facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Delays of Pfizer vaccine delivery to impact Alberta’s vaccination plans

Alberta has administered 74,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far

blessing
Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw
Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions

Salons, barbershops and other personal and wellness services will be open by appointment only

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Kenney kicks Pat Rehn out of UCP caucus after municipal complaints

Rehn had been criticized by municipal leaders in his constituency

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

(Via the Canadian Press)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

‘They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat’

A Suncor logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 2, 2019. A worker is missing after a dozer broke through ice on an inactive Suncor tailings pond in northern Alberta.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Worker missing after dozer breaks through frozen tailings pond in northern Alberta

The worker was an employee of Christina River Construction

File Photo
‘You took away some real joy,’ Sylvan Lake Winter Village turned off after vandalism

Sometime during the night of Jan, 12 the light display at the pier was vandalized and damaged

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID clarity: Feds say 42-day gap for 2-dose vaccines OK as provinces race to immunity

‘Realities on the ground’ means that provinces, territories will have difficult choices to make

(Pixabay photo)
Alberta surgeon who hung a noose in a hospital found guilty of unprofessional conduct

College of Physicians and Surgeons says sanctions will be determined at a later hearing