More than 120,000 food service jobs have been lost in B.C. amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to Restaurants Canada. (Black Press Media file photo)

COVID-19: More than 120,000 B.C. food service jobs lost, restaurants begin to shutter permanently

Restaurants Canada estimates $3 billion sales drop due to pandemic

More than 121,000 food service jobs have been lost in B.C. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an estimate from Restaurants Canada.

The national non-profit estimated that 800,000 jobs had been lost nationwide, and many may not return – nearly one in 10 Canadian restaurants have already closed permanently, and another 18 per cent are predicted to close within a month under current conditions.

“While our members appreciate the government relief measures announced so far, the reality is a growing portion of B.C. restaurateurs are considering permanent closure as they cannot pay their operating costs with no income,” said a statement from Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada vice-president for Western Canada. “Urgent additional relief is required to help these businesses survive or there will be fewer jobs for the thousands of temporarily laid off restaurant employees to return to once social distancing measures are lifted.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: B.C.’s top doctor bans dine-in guests at restaurants across province

This comes after stringent orders from B.C.’s top doctor that all restaurants close their doors to dine-in guests and move to take-out and delivery services only, in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. That order came after officials banned events with more than 50 attendees and shut down all bars and nightclubs in the province.

The food service sector is a $15 billion industry in B.C. and the third largest private sector employer, directly employing nearly 193,000 workers. Restaurants Canada estimates that if current conditions continue, B.C. food service sales for the second quarter of 2020 will be down more than $3 billion.

“Not only was our industry among the first to feel the impacts of COVID-19, we’ve been one of the hardest hit so far, with nearly two-thirds of our workforce now lost,” read a statement from Shanna Munro, Restaurants Canada president and CEO. “In our 75 years of existence as Canada’s national food service association, these are by far the worst numbers we have ever seen.”

A Restaurants Canada survey revealed that four out of five Canadian restaurants have laid off employees since March 1 and seven out of 10 food service operators plan for further cuts in hours or layoffs if conditions don’t improve.

The non-profit said it is working with all levels of government on rent relief, wage subsidies and access to working capital.

READ ALSO: Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Traffic redirected after crash on McKenzie Avenue

Saanich Police responded to Thursday evening collision

North Saanich artist brightens pandemic with whimsical signs

Artist Anna Trelford decorates her fence with signs that riff on COVID-19 pandemic

Man who bound, murdered Langford teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

Tour de Victoria postpones 10th annual ride to 2021

Ride that draws more than 3,000 cyclists to Greater Victoria was set for August

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

Most Read