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In the ongoing fight to slow the spread of coronavirus in Canada, every industry in the country has felt the effect of closures, layoffs and a decline in business. Hospitality, a sector that relies on foot traffic and shared experiences built on the relationship between guest and host, has been hit harder than most. Unable to remain open, restaurants have closed their doors, laying off hundreds of thousands of workers in the process. In light of the uncertainty facing the entire industry, independent restaurateurs across the country have joined forces as One Table, a coalition formed to fight for the future of the Canadian restaurant industry.
One Table, working in partnership with other organizations including Save Hospitality, the British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association and Restaurants Canada, is asking the government for immediate relief, protection and the promise of help with reopening and rehiring processes once coronavirus restrictions are lifted. “Food service is a $90 billion industry in Canada, accounting for 4% of the country’s GDP,” according to Save Hospitality. “Restaurants are the 4th largest employer in Canada with 1.3 million jobs, accounting for 7% of the country’s workforce.” The collapse of such a vital industry would have serious repercussions for the entire economy.
Among other things, the group is requesting that the government waive commercial property taxes related to hospitality venues for 18 months, require credit card companies to lower interest charges on cards held by hospitality businesses and create a cash stimulus package to support hospitality workers through forced closures.
Without help, many believe that the country’s restaurant scene will not recover. Anyone impacted by the recent closures is encouraged to join the movement by sharing personal stories online and using the hashtags #onetable and #savehospitalityca.