Calgary

Calgary, Edmonton restaurant reservations drop as much as 48% amid COVID-19 pandemic

Restaurant reservations across Alberta dropped dramatically in the tail end of this week likely due to the impact of COVID-19, according to data from online reservation service OpenTable.

OpenTable asked people to support restaurants by buying gift cards or ordering in

Restaurant reservations are dropping as the coronavirus outbreak spreads globally. A diner shared this photo of a normally crowded Calgary restaurant on Saturday. (pizdets17/Twitter)

Restaurant reservations across Alberta dropped dramatically in the tail end of this week likely due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from online reservation service OpenTable.

On Thursday, the company said restaurant reservations through its service in Calgary were down 27 per cent from the same day of the week last year, and on Friday that number dropped to 48 per cent.

Edmonton restaurants also saw a hit, with reservations down 23 per cent on Thursday and 33 per cent on Friday.

Across Alberta, year over year reservations were down 23 per cent on Thursday and 43 per cent on Friday.

"Please support your local restaurants during this turbulent time, as they are a vital part of our communities. Many operate on thin margins and fear staff layoffs and shut downs," Andrea Johnston, OpenTable's COO, said in a release.

Can't see the chart below? Click here.

Johnston suggested alternatives like home delivery or buying gift cards for future use as a great way to support local business.

She said she's seen a number of restaurants go above and beyond already strict health codes.

Some local eateries like Market posted on social media or emailed frequent diners to let them know about measures they're taking to keep customers safe, from creating more space between tables, to upping sanitation and swapping  and switching from reusable to compostable dishes.

Others, like Calgary-based restaurant chain Moxie's, offered incentives like a discount to avoid eating in their restaurants and if diners place a pick-up order instead, while some like Markos Kitchen or Crave Cupcakes offered free delivery.

As of Saturday, 39 people in Alberta have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than 150,000 people worldwide.

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