Restaurant owners brace for impact of G20 Toronto Summit

TORONTO, June 16 /CNW/ - Toronto restaurateurs in the downtown core are bracing for a huge drop in sales as the city locks down for the G20 Summit this month. While a small number of venues were selected to host official events, the vast majority of restaurants will be off limits to visitors and locals during what is traditionally the busiest time of the year.

"The government is literally putting up barriers between restaurants and their customers," says Garth Whyte, president and CEO of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). "Last summer the stink of a garbage strike kept patio customers away, this year it's a security fence."

The CRFA is calling on the federal government to fully reimburse restaurants for their losses during the Summit. "If the government can spend close to $2 million on a fake lake, then it has the money to fully compensate restaurants for their loss of business," says Whyte.

The CRFA will be monitoring the impact of the G20 Summit on its members, but the losses are expected to be significant. Even Mayor David Miller recently recommended that tourists avoid Toronto the weekend of the Summit, and major events such as a Blue Jays series and Mirvish theatre shows have already been canceled or relocated. In addition, many major employers in the downtown core have instructed their staff to work from home, which will further cut into business.

The government has promised to reimburse businesses for "losses related to extraordinary security measures," and business owners will have to follow an onerous process that will cost them even more time and money. Businesses will not be compensated for property damage that may occur during the Summit.

"The government has created a club with winners and losers," says Whyte. "For those who weren't invited to the party, this is going to be very costly."

There are over 8,000 restaurant operators in the City of Toronto, employing almost 85,000 people.

SOURCE Restaurants Canada

For further information: For further information: Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, CRFA Communications Specialist, 416-649-4254 or pvasanthakumar@crfa.ca


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