Restarant workers are some of the hardest labourers since COVID-19 began.
According to a Canadian survey on business conditions, more than 60 per cent of restaurants in the country risk having to close their doors permanently by November.
That number is closer to 30 per cent in the city, said Wendy Dupley, director of economic development and civic properties for the City of Maple Ridge.
“It is worthy of note,” she said.
“Many restaurants are still depending on government programs to support themselves, and it is unknown whether they will be able to survive when these expire.”
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce – in conjunction with 15 food service companies – has launched the ‘Our Restaurants’ in an attempt to rally public and government support for the businesses.
Flori Chaykowski, executive director for the Chamber of Commerce serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, said the campaign puts a spotlight on the current situation faced by Canada’s restaurants amidst COVID- 19.
“High costs, fewer customers, and government programs ill-equipped for the unique [are] long-term challenges faced by the industry,” she said.
Local workers have already started seeing the result of the difficult times within the industry.
Chaykowski said there has been anywhere from 150 to 200 restaurant/ food service jobs lost locally, and the numbers could easily double if more restaurants shut down.
Meanwhile, Dupley has a more optimistic view saying a lot of workers were laid off and then rehired, she pointed to job postings in the region, showing hiring demand as a sign of some slowdown within the industry.
“Job postings have declined by 22 per cent over the same quarter last year, but are only down by 10.3 per cent in Q2 compared to Q1 in 2020; demonstrating the local labour market has been resilient so far through the pandemic.”
She drew attention to some campaigns like #shoutoutMapleRidge, which have made attempts at boosting local businesses and encourage locals to shop local.
Have you had a particularly great experience with a local business lately? Maybe a menu item was particularly tasty at a…
Pitt Meadows has a shop local initiative that they have been pushing too.
Enabling and supporting business by seeking innovative temporary solutions that can help this sector survive the restricted operating procedures necessary to adhere to public health orders are going to be some of the additional measures required by local government, Dupley said.
She said it’s important for local businesses to be aware of all the government resources that are available to support their business.
Maple Ridge resources are available at https://www.mapleridge.ca/2419/COVID-19-Business-Resources.