When prediction becomes prophecy…

For weeks now, myself and other’s knowledgeable in the restaurant industry have been calling for greater measures to ensure the industry survives COVID-19. You can read up on what I’ve said here, here as well as here.

As has been predicted by many restauranteurs, what they have been warning about for the previous few weeks is starting to come true. Rent was due for every restaurant on April 1. Those who have not been able to make arrangements with their respective landlords are now technically in default of their tenant agreements. Restaurants have notoriously tight profit margins, which means that many restauranteurs are not sitting a top piles of capital for pandemics. The result has been a perfect storm to decimate the entire industry.

Which is why we are seeing stories beginning to appear like this:

Popular Toronto bar evicted for not being able to pay rent


Many small businesses opting to permanently close rather than wait out pandemic shutdown

In the articles posted, what is striking is that the restaurants mentioned are not newly opened locations. They are long standing family owned institutions to their respective neighbourhoods. Places that have built up loyal clientele and a reputation for service and value. One would think that such places could weather this storm. This pandemic is proving otherwise.

The federal government is stepping in to provided some financial relief or small businesses to keep workers on payroll and to cover expenses. However it is proving to be inadequate to help cover the sizeable loans and rent obligations that these small businesses are left to attend to. A coordinated effort with their provincial counterparts is clearly needed, as those contracts fall under the powers of the provinces to govern. In Ontario, the need is great for our provincial government to step up and protect small business owners from being evicted. Much like what they’ve done to protect residential tenants.

If they fail to act, the possibility of a hollowed out economy of boarded up storefronts and empty spaces will hamper any chance of recovery.


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