Toronto, Nov 21, 2020 – One week has passed since the Toronto and Peel areas entered the second lockdown, and the lockup period will last for 28 days. This means that those of us in the gray zone have to hide in time for December 21 before the holidays. Except for family dinners and countdown toasts, we have entered the busiest consumption season of the year. All businesses, especially small businesses, have seen the highest revenue generation weeks.
Due to the lack of government support for small and local businesses, there has been an overwhelming majority, and these businesses are now forced to close during peak seasons. Adam Skelly, owner of Adamson BBQ, a restaurant based in Etobicoke, became a notorious and informal spokesperson for anti-blockade sentiment.
When Toronto entered the gray area, Skelly violated the suspension order and kept the restaurant open. Hundreds of people showed up to support and protest these restrictions.
Skelly was later arrested and fined, but was not fined before establishing a GoFundMe account to pay its legal fees. Now, the account has raised more than US$280,000 from nearly 6,000 donors in more than five days.
The popular Buca restaurant serves downtown Toronto at three locations and was evacuated from Yonge and Eglinton locations due to unpaid rent. Later, it was reported that King Street Food Group, Burka’s parent company, was filing for bankruptcy. The company was in debt of nearly $46 million.
The group also owns five other GTA restaurants, including La Banane. Jacob’s & Co. Steakhouse and Jamie’s Italian. KSF Group said that between April and September, revenue fell by 98% compared to the same period last year, which is true in many hotel industries.
Although there may not be enough restaurant groups to acquire tens of millions of dollars in debt, its failure echoes the dozens of independently owned and operated restaurants acquired before COVID-19.
As an downtown restaurant owner and 25-year industry veteran told me earlier this fall, before the province announces the second shutdown of Toronto and Peel, “we may be able to stay for another three months. But when the cold weather comes, I am beautiful and make sure we close the door forever.”
Although hospitality seems to be welcomed to a certain extent because of its bleak prospects, in general, small businesses, especially those in the retail industry, seem to persevere during the holidays because they can skillfully make up for a large part of the past eight years. The losses suffered during the month.
A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that total holiday spending will fall by 30.7% year-on-year; 57% of Canadians said the epidemic had a negative impact on their spending power.
Although large companies such as Costco and Walmart are allowed to open, small independent retailers must close or face the consequences.
As Toronto columnist and author Sabrina Maddeaux pointed out: “Costco and Walmart can still sell non-essential items along with groceries, and department stores can continue to sell vital items such as socks. Although In fact, with the struggle of small retailers, the profits of large packaging boxes have soared throughout 2020. Walmart alone reported a revenue increase of 5.6% over last year, and free cash flow of $15.4 billion, an increase of 9.4% over last year. “
Large companies continue to profit from the closure of the pandemic and turn billionaires into superbillionaires. Where is the solidarity of the small and medium enterprises that are the core of our economy?
Currently, the Canadian government has implemented Canadian employment wage subsidies and Canadian emergency rent subsidies. CEWS was launched last spring at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown and reissued a revised version on November 19. It brought a significant drop in income for business owners and some much-needed wage and salary reductions. On September 27, the Canadian government launched CERS so that eligible companies can get rent reductions. Both programs are scheduled to end in June 2021.
Although these two plans have helped many small businesses to maintain their livelihoods and were staffed at the beginning of the pandemic, this new lock-in measure and the lack of resources to withstand these closures could be a fatal blow to many people.
Small businesses account for 40.8% of Canada’s GDP. Due to the 28-day embargo period in Toronto and Peel (the two major economic centers of Canada), and the uncertainty of the future embargo and the financial viability of COVID-19 restrictions, we are likely to lose the key to the financial health and prosperity part of the country.
Canada needs small businesses. Our community needs small businesses. Moreover, our government needs to better recognize this and support our small businesses through tax incentives or at least programs that are comparable to large companies. Otherwise, the devastating effects of this epidemic will take decades to repair.