New restrictions and closures ‘very scary’ for hospitality industry

By | October 17, 2020

WINNIPEG — To slow rising COVID-19 case numbers in Winnipeg, the province has ordered more targeted restrictions, including reduced group sizes and business closures.

Effective October 19, all beverage rooms, casinos, bingo halls, and event centres will be required to close for at least two weeks.

Bad news for Ravi Ramberran, owner of Four Crowns Restaurant, Hotel, and Event Centre.

He said when COVID-19 first hit in March, he was forced to close down and lay people off.

In April, he was able to reopen, but on Friday, the province announced he’ll be required to close again.

“[I have] really good people working here, and to let those people go again for a second time with no hope is very scary for me,” said Ramberran.

The new restrictions come after a large rise in case numbers, stemming primarily from community transmission.

“I think that there have been some bars that have been completely disrespectful, and unfortunately, we’re all thrown into that boat,” said Ramberran.

Now a large number of Winnipeg businesses are preparing to close.

Saturday is the last day 1928 Eatery and Pub will be open for the foreseeable future.

Assistant General Manager Kim Manchulenko said without shifts to provide the staff, they’ll have to lay some people off.

“It sucks. It’s hard to be a restaurant owner right now, but looking at the numbers and where the virus is spreading, it’s in bars and restaurants,” said Manchulenko.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said the hospitality industry has been one of the sectors hit hardest by COVID-19.

“We’re asking business owners to close down, to limit their operations for the safety and well being of all Manitoban’s,” said Jonathan Alward, Prairie Region Director for CFIB. “Most have done so very willingly, but at an incredible cost to themselves personally.”

CFIB said as of July, the average debt for Manitoba members related to COVID-19 was $80,000.

It said provinces like Saskatchewan and Ontario have already come out with grants for businesses impacted by COVID-19. It’s asking the Government of Manitoba to step up and provide financial aid to struggling businesses during the second shut down.

Ramberran believes the province needs to have more consultation with the hospitality industry.

“We need to work together, communicate with each other, [and] help each other out. The only way we win nowadays is if we work together.”

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