Nothing much is normal in the world right now, and it's the same in this province. Ontario restaurant closures are now enforced across the province, and the extent of the problem this poses for employment has now been revealed for the first time. Premier Doug Ford said on April 2 that 10% of all restaurants have already been forced to shut their doors, and a survey says 300,000 industry jobs have been lost in Ontario.
Premier Doug Ford spoke at a press briefing on Thursday, April 2, and shared his condolences to families and owners who have had to close their restaurants indefinitely due to the spread of COVID-19.
Ford shared that 10% of restaurants have closed due to the pandemic.
According to a survey conducted by Canadian not-for-profit Restaurants Canada March 25-28, over 300,000 restaurant jobs have already been lost in Ontario alone.
Those conclusions were published on Thursday in a study that sheds harrowing light on the effects of social distancing.
A spokesperson for Restaurants Canada told Narcity by email: "Some respondents representing independent restaurants said they have permanently closed, while other respondents belonging to chains said they have permanently closed some of their units."
The report estimates that Ontario's food service sales will plummet by more than $7.7 billion for the second quarter of 2020.
That's a huge blow, considering Ontario's $37 billion food service industry is 4% of the province's GDP, according the study.
However, Restaurants Canada praised the Ontario government's response to the crisis, saying that if tax collection and other payments hadn't been deferred, things would be much, much worse right now.
"Without the steps already taken, the impacts on our industry would be even more devastating. In this time of crisis, it is reassuring to see governments, at all levels, come to the table with solutions," said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada vice president for central Canada, in the study.
In his briefing, Ford took a moment to share his grief for many restaurant owners in the province as many of them are family-run and rely on their business to stay afloat.
"My heart breaks for these restaurant owners," he said.
"A lot of them are small family-run companies. One in 10 may not reopen, and I imagine that number will be higher (in the future)."
Judging by the state of COVID-19 in Ontario right now, he may be right.
The province announced 400 new cases on Thursday morning, taking the total to around 2,800. However, around 30% of cases have now ended in recoveries.