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In the past 24 hours, we have seen a surge of new developments concerning the coronavirus. The suspension of the NBA and NHL seasons, the cancellation of all in-bound flights from Europe to the US and even Hollywood’s darling -- Tom Hanks -- announcing his diagnosis of COVID-19.
With 1300 reported cases of the virus across the US and 59 confirmed cases in Ontario -- even Trudeau is in self-isolation following his wife's diagnosis -- the situation in North America continues to escalate.
Fear is subsequent to a pandemic; with that fear manifesting in different ways depending on person to person. Whether you simply decide to wash your hands a few seconds longer or sprint to the grocery store before the toilet paper and sanitizer stock disappears off of shelves -- everyone handles stark news differently.
In situations like this, it is important to remember the significance of community bonds and how to not completely erase them in dire times. Small businesses and restaurants may face an uncertain future in the coming months, with people too anxious to eat out or continue enjoying their day to day lives.
Famous chef and TV personality -- David Chang -- whom is responsible for the Momofuku empire, spoke out on Instagram in regards to how people can support restaurants and small businesses in the wake of the current situation.
Social distancing is still an important precautionary measure but spiralling into complete panic will not benefit anyone.
With TasteToronto's main audience being the loyal patrons who hold up the Toronto food community, we want to share with you a few ways you can support Toronto chefs and restaurants.
First of all, if you have a reservation at a restaurant in the upcoming weeks and are too nervous to dine out, give them a heads up. No-showing for a reservation has never been proper restaurant etiquette but in a climate where owner’s must be extremely prudent with cost control, it can genuinely make or break the future of their business.
UK based Spanish Grill, Asador 44, took to Twitter in hopes of dissuading people from no-showing at restaurants.
Second, it is comforting to know most restaurants are taking extra precautionary measures amidst the virus. Additional sanitary steps and discouraging sick employees from coming to work are things chefs are implementing even further into their kitchens.
Farmhouse Tavern speaks out on Instagram, ensuring their customers that they are taking care to keep their restaurant, employees and patrons healthy and safe.
A figurehead for the Toronto food scene, celebrity Chef Mark McEwan -- owner of several Toronto restaurants and McEwan Gourmet Grocery -- had a few words to impart on concerned Torontonians.
McEwan takes the current matter seriously and does not undermine the situation but still plans to eat out at his favourite restaurants. The chef has a great amount of trust in the establishments he has come to love and believes it is important for patrons to know the extra precautionary measures restaurants are taking to best maintain everyone's health.
McEwan has installed extra hand sanitizer stations throughout his grocery stores and wants customers to know he treats the interior of his store as if it were a fine-dining kitchen -- with no cleaning measure overlooked.
The chef also wants people to know if they do not feel comfortable dining out or coming into the store, McEwan Gourmet Grocery is offering home delivery where everything is packaged safely.
The idea of buying gift cards to independent restaurants as gifts for friends or family was an idea McEwan had on how we can support the industry.
No matter what is happening, we still have to eat and whether that supports Toronto restaurants is a decision for you to make.
The same goes for food delivery services when it comes to ensuring customer and courier health. As I am sure majority of you have received informative newsletters from the likes of Uber Eats, Foodora, etc.; explaining the extra precautionary measures the companies are taking. Again, this is another way to continue supporting Toronto restaurants -- even ordering in can make the difference for these businesses.
More important, there is no benefit in discriminating against certain races or communities based off of misguided information. Chinatown has been hit hardest by the ramifications of the coronavirus, with restaurants suffering a 20-60% drop in sales. Wuhan Noodle 1950, has in particular, suffered racists remarks from ignorant people who believe dining there will heighten their chances of catching the virus -- which is not true.
Back in February, Asialicious was hosted in order to drum up business for small restaurants within the community. In hopes of further educating and supporting Chinatown, another Asialicious will be hosted come April 18 to May 17 to combat growing fears.
Toronto chefs took to social media to share their thoughts on how they intend to support their fellow Toronto chefs and restaurants, as well as the actions they are taking to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Primrose Bagel reached out to customers over an Instagram story offering bagel deliveries and care packages for the elderly.
Chef Grant van Gameren posted on his Instagram how he intends to support Toronto restaurants and chefs by making visits to independently owned establishments.
The Cheese Boutique reaches out to its loyal customers on how they are planning on keeping everyone in the store healthy and the importance of remaining a strong community.
In the coming weeks, we urge our community to stay healthy but to continue the ongoing support towards Toronto restaurants and chefs. Even if that doesn't entail sitting down for dinner, picking up a hot meal from your favourite spot or grabbing a coffee at your local shop can make all the difference.
If you or anyone you know need a resource to turn to for dealing with anxiety in the wake of the coronavirus click here.