Edmonton –– Today, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC) joined the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Restaurants Canada, businesses, and chambers of commerce and boards of trade across Canada to call on all orders of government to urgently address the damaging impacts of COVID-19 on Canada's food services industry.
"Restaurants play a vital economic, social, and cultural role in communities across our province and our country. They have long been places to celebrate milestones, experience different cuisines, and connect with friends and family––all while contributing significantly to local, provincial, and national economies," says ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly. "Unfortunately, COVID-19 and ongoing physical distancing requirements mean Canada's restaurant industry has lost a devastating 800,000 jobs since the beginning of the pandemic. The food services industry already operates on razor-thin margins and can't take much more."
Prior to COVID-19, Canada's restaurant industry directly created one out of every 15 jobs (1.2 million Canadians), served 22 million meals per day to Canadians, operated nearly 100,000 establishments, paid Canadians $30 billion in wages and benefits, and contributed $31 billion annually to Canada's GDP. Today, revenues are off by 60 and 70 per cent while business operators continue to pay nearly full pre-COVID costs––an untenable situation.
Today's letter outlines where government programs have supported the industry while identifying key gaps where immediate action is required to prevent irreparable harm to the food services industry.
"Food service operators have acted quickly and creatively to adapt to the reality of COVID-19. Whether by shifting to delivery and curbside pickup, developing meal kits and cook-at-home products, or creating distanced and safe eat-in spaces, we've seen first hand the innovation and flexibility of Alberta's entrepreneurs," says Kobly. "However, there's only so much an industry can take. Governments need to act quickly to make sure we don't lose this vibrant industry for good."
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For comment, please contact:
President and CEO
Alberta Chambers of Commerce
(P) 780.425.4180 Ext.5