The three-step plan to reopening Ontario recently introduced by the provincial government has placed a huge burden on Stittsville local restaurants and small businesses. With the reopening of golf courses and other recreational amenities, it seems that the option of dining on a patio, with a minimal number of persons per table and overall capacity limited, has been overlooked. Restaurants can’t survive on ‘take-out’ alone.
Restaurants Canada is calling on the Ontario government to ensure that foodservice businesses are provided with sufficient financial support to survive another four more weeks of shut down, and to compensate for lost inventory and other costs associated with being permitted to reopen and then having to close again on such short notice.
Tanya Hein, President of the Stittsville Village Association told Stittsville Central, “I’m happy to see vaccinations continuing at a better pace, and really hoping people are going to support our local businesses as they reopen in June. I’m absolutely in awe of some of the creativity and adaptations we’ve seen from businesses as they’ve tried to navigate really devastating restrictions and inconsistency over the past year.”
“I understand the government’s hesitation to re-open more fully and possibly jeopardize the positive trajectory we’ve been on, but I also hope adjustments can be made ahead of schedule if we find ourselves in a better than anticipated position,” added Hein.
In conversation with Allan Ryan, President of the Stittsville Business Association, he indicated, “he is glad to see a provincial plan in place and that the province has stopped using the confusing colour-coded system.” He added, “outdoor activities should not have been restricted – they are needed for the mental health of people.”
“Restaurant owners in Stittsville are suffering – it is unfair that they can’t make some revenue in an outdoor environment. The patios could be opened with a smaller capacity, as was previously done. They are not the problem of the virus spread – never have been,” Ryan declared.
With the further restrictions taking place until June 14 when the province will move to Phase 2 of their reopening plan, Ryan emphasized, “big box stores have operated carte blanche during this pandemic. For local small businesses and restaurants a month is a long time and it is going to be tough for them to hang on for another month.” Ryan hopes to see financial help offered to the local businesses to offset some of their losses.
Councillor Gower shared his thoughts on the reopening plan and it’s effect on our local businesses. He told us, “We need to focus on getting schools open first, and then shops and services in our community. I’m very concerned for our local business owners. It’s incredibly harmful for a business when you they open your doors to the public. Some businesses have been closed for about as long as they’ve been open over the past 14 months.”
Gower then cited the importance of our local businesses. “Quitters Coffee opened last week for take-out service. Just having them open as a familiar community place is so beneficial for our overall community health. We need to get businesses back open and get back to normal life as soon as possible.”
The Councillor then went on to say, “Thank you to Stittsville residents for continuing to support local businesses with take-out and curbside orders.”
When Ontario reopens, patio dining is a good way to spend time with a friend and family, while supporting a struggling business. Uncomfortable with patio dining? Help your favourite local restaurant or deli by ordering take-out and enjoy a picnic in one of Stittsville’s lovely parks. Our restaurants and small businesses are struggling – with the support of our community, we can help the owners, their staff and families to open again safely.