Robert Kim, the co-owner of Fran's Restaurant, whose Front and Yonge Street location is closing, told Narcity over the phone that the closure is as upsetting to the owners as it is to the rest of Toronto.

And he criticized both levels of Ontario's governments for failing to keep small businesses afloat during the pandemic.*

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We had no choice but to close.

Robert Kim

Kim and his family are the co-owners of Fran's and have been since the late 1990s. They have two other locations in Toronto.*

But when the second lockdown started, Kim said the company was short on their October rent for the first time in 10 years.

Their property manager refused an extension request and said they had to be out of the building by December 31.*

Fran's have already begun moving out of their Yonge and Front location because the government moratorium on evictions was lifted in September.

It's part of why Kim feels disenfranchised by the municipal and provincial leadership.

"I think that the government on both levels has failed to work with businesses to make them safe," Kim told Narcity.

"I think that having some non-essential businesses open and others close sends a really disheartening and frustrating message."

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson from the City of Toronto said the municipal government is doing all its can to help small businesses stay open during the pandemic.*

A representative from Doug Ford's office told Narcity that they're committed to supporting Ontario's small businesses, noting that those same retailers have made "tremendous sacrifices in order to keep the people of Ontario safe."*

Both Ontario and Toronto have offered supports for small businesses since the start of the pandemic, partly through tax rebates, rent assistance, and local promotional initiatives.

Kim said his family has been buoyed by the support from customers, and they hope to have another project start once the pandemic is over. Until then, though, he said people need to keep supporting their local businesses.

"I just want people to continue to support their local business as much as possible," Kim said. "Because, you know, that one purchase can be the difference of them paying their rent or paying their employee without going further into debt."

*This article has been updated.

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