A new survey from restaurant lobby group Restaurants Canada suggests that there could be huge waves of restaurant closures due to the coronavirus crisis.
One in two restaurant owners that responded to the survey said that they do not expect their business to survive if conditions continue as they are for the next three months. The majority of restaurateurs that own more than one venue (for example, small-scale, non-franchised chains) expect that they will have to close at least one location.
Restaurants Canada’s poll also suggests that the problem won’t simply evaporate when restaurants are allowed to reopen as normal — many are acculumating debts just to stay afloat, and those will be hard to pay back, especially if a recession ultimately slows down their business.
Rent payments are the main concern for restaurant owners. To that end, Restaurants Canada is recommending that some kind of rent assistance measures be put in place for restaurants and other small businesses, and that this assistance should be able to continue for a period after businesses reopen if business remains sluggish.
The organization is also recommending that a moratorium on evictions of commercial tenants be enacted, to protect restaurants from going out of business and to ensure that their staff have a job to return to when they reopen.