Less than two weeks after giving restaurants the green light to reopen patios, the provincial government pulled the emergency brake last week due to rising COVID-19 case counts, meaning restaurants would need to close once again.
After surprising Toronto restaurants with the news that outdoor dining could reopen on March 22, the new measures came into effect just as restaurant owners finally had the chance to stock their kitchens and get up and running.
As a result of this quick turn of events, many business owners ended up losing more money than they would have if the original lockdown hadn’t ended in the first place. Some Toronto restaurant owners are therefore furious at Premier Doug Ford and the provincial government for their handling of the situation, including the owners of Antler Kitchen and Bar, Jody Shapiro and Michael Hunter.
To vent their frustrations at the result of the latest lockdown measures, Shapiro and Hunter reportedly sent Ford a letter and an invoice for $431.55, totalling the amount of money they had wasted on beer for the long weekend that they would no longer be able to serve on their patio.
“You say you care about Toronto’s restaurants. And we know you care about beer,” the owners write in the letter. “So we’re sending an invoice to you for two kegs worth of beer that will spoil because of this shut down.”
The pair also stated that reopening the patio had been a path for their business to survive, given they have had to remain closed for over 100 days due to COVID-19 measures. Now, like many other small business owners in the city, they have been pushed further into debt by the government’s poor planning.
The invoice serves as a statement to the government that someone has to foot the bill for their losses. It doesn’t even cover the additional money Antler and countless other Toronto restaurants wasted on ordering food supplies for patio diners.
The Ontario lockdown is anticipated to last at least a month, or until May 3. Ontario is reporting just under 3,000 new COVID-19 cases today.