Canadians asked to ‘picture life without restaurants’ as industry hits grim milestone

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Restaurant

TORONTO — A restaurant industry group is asking Canadians to imagine a life without their local restaurants after it says the country lost more than 10,000 eateries since the introduction of pandemic lockdowns.

Restaurants Canada is calling on customers to support their local food and drink establishments this holiday season by buying gift cards, ordering takeout or delivery, and dining in where possible.

The campaign, called “Picture life without restaurants,” includes a one-minute video reminding people about the importance of restaurants in day-to-day lives and for special occasions and is paired with the hashtag #RestaurantsAreFamily.

Todd Barclay, president and CEO of Restaurants Canada, says the holidays are usually one of the busiest times for restaurants.

But he says with so many regions under lockdown, the coming weeks could be devastating for restaurants if customers don’t “take a stand” and show their support for local eateries.

Meanwhile, the restaurant group says even among the restaurants that have survived so far, half expect to permanently shut down if conditions don’t improve.