Restaurant industry faces uncertain return to in-person dining


The ban on in-person dining is set to temporarily end on January 26, but Ontario’s top doctor now says that date isn’t a guarantee and that worries the hospitality industry.

“As soon as we have clarity, we want to let the business community know, so I can’t guarantee the 26th,” Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, said at a news conference this week. week.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce said businesses needed to be informed to prepare, calling the lack of transparency “frustrating and unfair.”

“We don’t know if the 26th is still in progress and on what basis the decisions will be taken,” Rocco Rossi told the chamber.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if some day now something comes out saying it’s going to be delayed for a week or two,” said Tim Borys, co-owner of the Lancaster Smokehouse.

Lancaster Smokehouse currently has 15 employees. Before the latest round of restrictions, they had around 45 staff. They intend to bring these employees back when they can reopen, but for now they must ask them to wait until they are given the green light.

“We’re lucky enough that I think our staff are very happy here and want to get back to work,” Borys said.

The co-owner said he was waiting to place large food and drink orders until a date was official.

“Typically, you can kind of foreshadow and budget for these things, but with COVID and the supply chain issues, you can kind of throw that out the window because nobody knows,” said Borys said.

Some businesses said the silver lining is that they’ve done it so many times before that they could reopen on short notice.

“We have a very good relationship after doing this for so long. If they announced it in the morning and I needed it in the evening, I could probably do it,” Borys said.

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