Should B.C. restaurants be closed temporarily? A restaurateur says the move could shut down 20% for good
Published Monday, March 16, 2020 10:03AM PDT Last Updated Monday, March 16, 2020 10:08AM PDT
VANCOUVER -- A Metro Vancouver restaurateur says the pressure from having to close temporarily due to COVID-19 could shutter some local restaurants for good.
When asked about the possibility of politicians imposing rules that would see restaurants shut – potentially for weeks – Emad Yacoub painted a bleak picture on CTV Morning Live Monday.
The owner of Glowbal Restaurant Group thinks 20 per cent would be forced to shut down permanently.
He said weeks-long closures could be the death of some smaller operations, as employers will struggle to pay their employees while not bringing in any money.
Yacoub said many are facing challenges already.
"It got ugly very quickly," he said.
"Very, very quickly. Like, almost 90 per cent drop across the board, everywhere."
For example, he said, a restaurant that typically does about 550 dinners on a Friday night is now seeing about 80.
He suggests longer-term loans should be approved so restaurants can pay their staff.
"This is what we want to hear from the government," he said.
And Yacoub acknowledges his restaurants are fairly large. He said those hardest hit will be mom-and-pop places.
"In a time when everything is firing on all cylinders, there's 20 per cent that will go under because the margin is so slim in Canada, compared to the United States."
If a restaurant is shut down for a month, he said, and everyone needs to be paid, those restaurants won't be able to keep up.
There are 191,000 people who work in the industry in B.C., he said.
Watch Yacoub's full interview for more on the possible impact, including which places he suggests would suffer the most.