How deep is too deep when adding debt to keep operating became all the more pressing for restaurants and other businesses in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel region on Friday as the Ontario government announced a set of new restrictions to tamp down a massive surge of COVID-19 cases in what has become the province’s three main hot spots.
The new measures, announced as Ontario logged a record-high 939 new cases of the virus, include closing indoor dining, theatres and gyms for at least 28 days, effective 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.
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The new rules against indoor dining, coming just as the cold weather starts to sap enthusiasm for patio dining, will effectively shut off a majority of the revenue for the struggling restaurant sector and force tens of thousands of layoffs, industry advocates say.
Restaurants Canada, the main trade association for the industry, warned that the end of indoor dining will cut off roughly 80 per cent of sales for full-service restaurants. The association estimated that 33,000 restaurant employees will lose their jobs in Toronto, 12,000 in Ottawa and 14,900 in Peel Region.