Boxing Day lockdown a 'devastating blow,' say Ottawa restaurants
'Opening, closing, opening, closing has really had its toll,' says Pub Italia owner
Some Ottawa restaurant owners say the province's new lockdown measures are unfair and yet another big blow to their livelihoods.
"It's a devastating blow," said Joe Cotroneo, owner of Pub Italia in the city's Little Italy neighbourhood.
On Monday, Premier Doug Ford announced all of Ontario will move into a lockdown on Boxing Day to help curb climbing COVID-19 case numbers. It's set to start after midnight on Dec. 26, and will last until at least Jan. 23, 2021, for southern Ontario.
As a result, indoor and outdoor dining will no longer be allowed at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments. Only takeout, drive-thru and delivery services are allowed for that period.
Cotroneo said he's worried that a month-long shutdown will close many businesses permanently.
We've been a model for the world and we really shouldn't have to go through lockdown again.- Stephen Beckta, Beckta Dining and Wine
He noted the "teeter totter" effect of going into and emerging from lockdowns is tough on restaurants.
"Opening, closing, opening, closing has really had its toll on a lot of businesses."
Antonella Ceglia whose family owns La Roma in Little Italy, said her small business of about 30 staff relies on serving people.
"So when we're not able to do that, you know, it really hinders the ability for us to survive financially," she said. "Although this has given us a hard hit, it's not going to take us down."
Stephen Beckta, who owns Beckta Dining and Wine in downtown Ottawa, is looking forward to the province reviewing its decision for Ottawa and lowering the lockdown period to 14 days.
"We've been a model for the world and we really shouldn't have to go through lockdown again," Beckta said.
He said the government needs to help the restaurant industry survive the pandemic. He cited how B.C. has temporarily cut the price of alcohol so businesses can purchase it at a reduced cost.
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"When all of this is done and it's safe to dine out again and there's no more lockdown, we need to encourage people to dine out. And the only way to do that is lower some prices," said Beckta.
With files from Sandra Abma