‘Beyond comprehension,’ says restaurant industry, not included in the lifting of capacity restrictions

Restaurants and gyms still have capacity limits

There is anger in the restaurant industry in the wake of the Ontario government’s decision to ramp capacity limits to 100 per cent, effective Saturday, for sport and concert venues, cinemas, theatres, horse racing tracks, and recreational fitness centres.

The province says the decision to lift capacity restrictions was based on high vaccination rates, stable public health indicators, and the vaccine certificate policy noting there have been few outbreaks in the selected settings.

Proof-of-vaccination for COVID-19 will still be required.

Left out of the loop are restaurants and gyms, which also require patrons to prove they are double-dosed.

Restaurants Canada calls the move extremely disappointing.

“It is beyond comprehension that 20,000 people can cram into an arena, scream, and closely congregate without masks, while restaurants must adhere to strict distancing regulations which severely restrict the number of customers that can be served,” read a statement from the foodservice organization.

Restaurants Canada says a recent survey revealed 80 per cent of restaurants continue to just break even or lose money having borne the expenses of PPE and safety protocols as well as the recent introduction of the vaccine passport.

“The industry has done everything asked of us, and yet we continue to be singled out,” it says. “Restaurants Canada is calling on the government to immediately lift all further restrictions on the industry and provide additional support to recognize the cost of implementing the vaccine passport program.”