Ottawa

Boxing Day lockdown a 'devastating blow,' say Ottawa restaurants

Some Ottawa restaurant owners say the province's new lockdown measures are yet another big blow to their livelihoods.

'Opening, closing, opening, closing has really had its toll,' says Pub Italia owner

Joe Cotroneo, owner of Pub Italia, says the constant opening and closing of his business has taken a toll. (Brian Morris/CBC)

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 of La Roma says her small business has been hit hard by the lockdowns. (Brian Morris/CBC)

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 have to be positive’: Restaurant owners brace for closure as lockdown looms

CBC News Ottawa

26 days agoVideo
0:43
Antonella Ceglia, whose family owns La Roma restaurant, says she’s trying to stay positive despite the 28-day lockdown set to start on Boxing Day. 0:43

"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.

"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

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