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Ontario's restaurant industry calls on financial support from provincial government

TORONTO — Ontario's restaurant industry is demanding the provincial government pick up a $100-million tab following the abrupt closure of indoor and outdoor dining last week.

Restaurants Canada and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association say that the province's decision to pull the "emergency brake" to slow the spread of COVID-19 has significantly hurt the industry.

In an open letter issued Tuesday, the organizations say that reopening and closing costs alone add up to $100 million across Ontario.

Wasted inventory, staffing costs, and patio setup and takedown are some of the expenses restaurants have incurred.

The letter addressed to Premier Doug Ford says that financial burden can be eased in several ways including making further funding available through the Ontario Small Business Support.

It also suggests introducing a sector-specific program for covering reopening and closure costs, extending the property tax and energy cost rebate programs, and immediately ending the six per cent markup that restaurants pay for alcohol from the LCBO.

The letter also asks that patio dining remain available as an alternative to private gatherings.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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