Ontario Continues to Support Restaurants During COVID-19 Pandemic

Province Helping to Offset Fixed Costs and Permitting Alcohol with Delivery and Takeout Food Orders

October 13, 2020

ETOBICOKE — The Ontario government is encouraging everyone to support local restaurants and the food services industry during COVID-19. Last week, the province introduced additional targeted public health measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts to help slow the spread of the virus. Over the next 28 days, indoor food and drink service at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments in these regions will be prohibited, but they may continue to offer takeout, delivery and outdoor dining.

Today, Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliot, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, were at Mamma Martino’s Restaurant in Etobicoke to highlight government support for the industry.

“Families and entrepreneurs across Ontario have poured their hearts into local restaurants and diners. They’ve been there for us, from donating to charities to sponsoring little league sports,” said Premier Ford. “To support them during these tough times, our government is making millions available to provide relief for fixed costs. I’m also calling on everyone in Ontario to rally around our small businesses by ordering takeout or delivery. Together, we can make a huge difference.”

To provide relief for local restaurants and other businesses impacted by the new public health measures, Ontario announced $300 million to help offset fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills.

The government is also supporting small business through its Main Street Recovery Plan by:

  • Committing to permanently allow licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order before the existing regulation expires;
  • Permanently allowing 24/7 deliveries to restaurants;
  • Supporting the distribution of local food and food products by increasing the range of products sold at the Ontario Food Terminal;
  • Ending outdated and duplicative rules so businesses can focus on their work;
  • Modernizing regulations to allow businesses to innovate and meet the challenges of today;
  • Providing mental health supports to business owners and employees who are struggling;
  • Providing $57 million with federal partners through the Digital Main Street program and creating new Digital Main Street squads to help small businesses grow online; and
  • Launching a new portal to assist small businesses to quickly find the supports and information they need.

“Small businesses account for 98 per cent of all businesses across the province and employ close to 2.4 million hardworking Ontarians. That’s why their recovery, including those in the food service sector, is so critical to Ontario’s recovery,” said Minister Sarkaria. “During the good times, our restaurants have given us a place to gather as family and friends — to build memories. We must continue to show them what they mean to our communities. All Ontarians can support their local businesses by celebrating #TakeoutDay — today, tomorrow, and any day of the week.”

Quick Facts

  • In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government took additional targeted public health measures in the Ottawa, Peel and Toronto public health unit regions. These modified Stage 2 restrictions will be in effect for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis.
  • Ontario’s new Main Street Recovery Plan builds on more than $10 billion in urgent relief and support provided through Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
  • The Ontario government cut the small business Corporate Income Tax rate by 8.7%, starting on January 1, 2020. This delivers up to $1,500 in annual savings to Ontario’s small businesses.
  • In April 2020, Ontario partnered with the federal government to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses, making more than $900 million available in urgent commercial rent relief for Ontario small businesses and their landlords.
  • On October 9, 2020, the federal government announced plans to replace the CECRA for small businesses, which ended on September 30, 2020, with a new rent subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). CERS is expected to provide rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying small businesses and organizations affected by COVID-19.
  • Ontario is helping businesses overcome the unique challenges created by this pandemic with 50 temporary regulatory changes made to help them adapt. The government is looking at removing 400 additional roadblocks.
  • Ontario’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act is laying the foundation to restart jobs and development, strengthen communities, and create opportunity for people in every region of the province.