Businesses around G20 'cannot afford to close'by Pras Rajagopalan
Tuesday, Jun. 15, 2010
"We are operating regular hours. We are not closing [during the G20 week]," says Fred Luk, owner of two restaurants on King Street, Fred's Not Here and Red Tomato.
Luk and the Entertainment District Business Improvement Association are trying to spread the word that restaurants, stores and other attractions are open for business during the week leading up to the G20 summit.
Many of those businesses fear the security measures around the summit - like fencing off an area around the summit site - will hurt their bottom line.
"I'm not against the summit. Toronto's the best city to have it in Canada," says Luk, who estimates he will lose 50 per cent of his business in the week leading up to the summit.
"We have a diverse population, a tolerant police force, a fine police force. But at the end of the day, it does affect the mom and pop operations and small businesses which cannot afford to close."
Luk says his restaurants will be operating as usual, albeit with fewer staff.
He was among dozens of business owners who showed up to a closed-door meeting between the BIA, Toronto police and Coun. Adam Vaughan on Monday afternoon.
Many of the businesses had concerns about how the security measures would affect traffic, how trucks could make deliveries amid road closures and how police are going to ensure order in the area.
Terry Beauchamp, who owns Walter Beauchamp Tailors at Simcoe and Wellington, said he felt somewhat reassured after the meeting.
"I feel better the more I hear that things are in good hands. I realize [the security team] can't be telling you everything right off the bat," he said.
"I think hopefully they've got a lot of things organized and are going to secure it the best they can. Hopefully the thing doesn't get out of hand."
To help boost business in the area, the BIA is announcing some deals for customers the week before the summit. For one, those who make a purchase in the entertainment district during the G20 week can show the receipt at participating restaurants to get 15 per cent off dinner.
The BIA is also offering a deal in which people can catch a show at the Second City comedy club and have a two-course dinner at some area restaurants for $35.
"Hopefully the media could be more proactive in many ways ... [by] saying that's a safe area on King Street," said Luk. "It's only a traffic zone, you can drive right through there... Support the local businesses because they're affected by it."
The summit at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre runs June 26-27.
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- Pras Rajagopalan is interested in city politics, urban planning, and your used Krautrock LPs.
When the opportunity came to cover the impact of the G20 summit on everyday life in Toronto, he jumped at the chance.