More than 120,000 food service jobs have been lost in B.C. amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to Restaurants Canada. (Black Press Media file photo)

More than 120,000 food service jobs have been lost in B.C. amid the COVID-19 crisis, according to Restaurants Canada. (Black Press Media file photo)

COVID-19: More than 120,000 B.C. food service jobs lost, restaurants begin to shutter permanently

Restaurants Canada estimates $3 billion sales drop due to pandemic

More than 121,000 food service jobs have been lost in B.C. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an estimate from Restaurants Canada.

The national non-profit estimated that 800,000 jobs had been lost nationwide, and many may not return – nearly one in 10 Canadian restaurants have already closed permanently, and another 18 per cent are predicted to close within a month under current conditions.

“While our members appreciate the government relief measures announced so far, the reality is a growing portion of B.C. restaurateurs are considering permanent closure as they cannot pay their operating costs with no income,” said a statement from Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada vice-president for Western Canada. “Urgent additional relief is required to help these businesses survive or there will be fewer jobs for the thousands of temporarily laid off restaurant employees to return to once social distancing measures are lifted.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: B.C.’s top doctor bans dine-in guests at restaurants across province

This comes after stringent orders from B.C.’s top doctor that all restaurants close their doors to dine-in guests and move to take-out and delivery services only, in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. That order came after officials banned events with more than 50 attendees and shut down all bars and nightclubs in the province.

The food service sector is a $15 billion industry in B.C. and the third largest private sector employer, directly employing nearly 193,000 workers. Restaurants Canada estimates that if current conditions continue, B.C. food service sales for the second quarter of 2020 will be down more than $3 billion.

“Not only was our industry among the first to feel the impacts of COVID-19, we’ve been one of the hardest hit so far, with nearly two-thirds of our workforce now lost,” read a statement from Shanna Munro, Restaurants Canada president and CEO. “In our 75 years of existence as Canada’s national food service association, these are by far the worst numbers we have ever seen.”

A Restaurants Canada survey revealed that four out of five Canadian restaurants have laid off employees since March 1 and seven out of 10 food service operators plan for further cuts in hours or layoffs if conditions don’t improve.

The non-profit said it is working with all levels of government on rent relief, wage subsidies and access to working capital.

READ ALSO: Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
Court-registered sex offender arrested for breach of parole in Langford

Cameron Ratelle returned to correctional facility after female youth approached at bus stop

Marc Porpaczy said he’s glad he delayed his daily walk with his dog, Juno, after a car crashed just outside his driveway just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash highlights need for sidewalks, say Colwood residents

‘The residents have gone from frustrated to angry’

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read