Cold snap keeps people inside, away from Ottawa stores
Employees say wind chill nearing -40 C making slow month even worse
Both the City of Ottawa and Environment Canada have issued weather advisories this week as temperatures near -40 C, with health officials saying to stay inside if possible.
- Frostbite warning extended to Friday for City of Ottawa
- Polar vortex freeze is back for Central, Atlantic Canada
- Ian Black's Ottawa weather page
Because of that, restaurant employees said people are changing their plans.
George Sabeh owns the Wellington Eatery in Ottawa's Hintonburg neighbourhood said about 20 fewer people are coming through his doors this week than normally visit in January.
"Nobody wants to go out," he said.
"We had reservations a couple of weeks ago when we had the cold spell… they all cancelled out. The weekend after that we had the ice storm, same thing."
Cold means people are driving, not walking
Owners and employees of other stores say they've seen a similar drop-off.
On Bank Street, Henry's camera store clerk Peter Waiser said there is little extra the store can do to draw in more customers, since many items are already on sale.
"It's always sluggish in January and February, that's normal, but we're certainly noticing it with this Arctic weather that we're having," said Waiser. "It's made a major difference."
Gabriel's Pizza manager Elias Hanna said his Bank Street restaurant often relies on walk-bys during the day for business. He said they are not even seeing a quarter of what they usually do.
"People are not walking, it's that simple...it's too cold," said Hanna.
Customer says cold weather has some benefits
He said he wonders if some restaurants may be getting somewhat of a benefit from the cold if diners chose to linger over their meal.
"Those who come may be in more need of hot sustenance and stay longer," he said.
Restaurant staff who spoke to CBC News said they hope warmer temperatures in the forecast for the weekend will make people more willing to leave their homes.