Ontario’s Restaurants Brace For the Winter Season
COVID-19, Food, Interactives, News, Top news, Uncategorized, Video

Ontario’s Restaurants Brace For the Winter Season

Restaurants around the province are preparing for the second wave and doing what they can to stay operational.

Independent restaurants around Ontario are forced to adapt to public health guidlines as indoor dinning is prohibited in certain COVID-19 hotspots around the province, Oct. 30, 2020 (RSJ/Ryan O’Connor)

Video by Ryan O’Connor

Multimedia by Kayah Marryshow

By Sael Forster

Premier Doug Ford announced this week that York Region will be moved to a modified Stage 2, joining Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel Region. Restaurants and bars in these districts are prohibited from hosting indoor dining. 

Ontario’s restaurant industry is one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 epidemic and owners are doing what they can to operate during the upcoming winter.

A survey produced by the industry group Restaurants Canada found that 800,000 workers were laid off earlier this March. Restaurants around Ontario are concerned with more potential layoffs and closures as winter approaches and outdoor seating becomes more difficult.

Steffen Carlino is a chef at the independently owned Actinolite Restaurant in Toronto’s West end who’s hours were drastically reduced at the peak of the pandemic. The restaurant has moved its dining outside to accommodate public health guidelines according to Carlino, hosting their guests around a bonfire.

“The restaurant is very fortunate to be in the location they are,” said Carlino in an interview with RSJ video producer Ryan O’Connor. “Compared to a downtown restaurant where half of them, their patios were taking up the whole road.”

Carlino has concerns that restaurants like Actinolite will have a more difficult time operating at a sustainable capacity compared to chain establishments. 

“We have even spent weeks or months, ageing slash preparing things for a meal that might only be available for one or two days,” said Carlino. “It sort of takes away from that experience and you are left wondering why you just spent fifty dollars a person on takeout.”

October 30, 2020

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