Skip to main content

Restaurants call for clarity from province on reopening guidelines

Sault Ste. Marie -

Restaurants in Sault Ste. Marie and the province say they want more clarity and communication from the Ford government when it comes to resuming indoor dining.

That's according to the organization that represents Canadian restaurant owners, Restaurant Canada, which said Wednesday the province needs to be more careful with how it implements reopening guidelines.

"Very little notice and almost no consultation, that's been our issue right from the start of the pandemic," said James Rillet of Restaurants Canada. "It's especially harmful when they give us no notice for closures."

Premier Doug Ford hinted at an announcement this week that would see the easing up of some restrictions in Ontario. On Wednesday, it was announced indoor dining will resume at the end of the month.

Rillet said consultation with restaurants is needed to reopen in a way that doesn't cause further harm to business owners.

"We need some of that information so that restaurants can prepare their restaurants, so that they can order food, so they can get staff ready," he said.

The owner of Q Cafe in downtown Sault Ste. Marie said her customer base is dwindling because of current restrictions. Susan Willems Van Dyjk said she has loyal customers that will stop by to help, but her base now predominantly works from home, meaning there's less reason for them to grab a bite at her cafe.

"We definitely need more time to prepare, which isn't something we've always gotten over the last two years," she said.

"You know, one day things are good and you're rolling along and then it's 50 per cent and then we're going to close everything and we'll give you this date. I know there's no crystal ball but we need some advance notice."

Restaurants Canada said it's also advocating for the deferral of HST payments, increased funding through Ontario's COVID-19 relief grant programming and a re-imposition of Ontario's moratorium on commercial tenant evictions, which expired last month. Top Stories

Stay Connected