In the year since the first COVID-19 lockdowns, fewer Toronto restaurants, bars, and cafes have cancelled their city licenses, despite public health restrictions. This is down 21% from the 20-year average of 1,456 eating establishment license cancellations per year.
“There are a lot of zombie businesses out there,” says the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, “businesses that are effectively dead but the body doesn’t know it yet.” The CFIB estimates that a third of restaurants in Canada, or over 30,000, will close permanently as a result of the pandemic. “It’s not only been my life, but it’s been my parents’ life, their 40 years of hard work,” Margio Rana, 32, owner of a family-run Italian restaurant, says.
According to a recent Statistics Canada survey, 43% of food services and drinking establishments saw a 40% or greater drop in revenue last year. During the first year of the pandemic, the number of driving instructor and limousine service company licenses revoked increased by 75 to 82 percent compared to 2019. Since the start of COVID-19, nearly 190 Toronto driving instructors have cancelled their licenses, a 75 percent increase over 2019.
In the first years of the Pandemic, 36 of the 55 licensed limousine service companies in Toronto cancelled their licenses, an 82 percent increase over the following year. “Everything that isn’t happening right now feeds our industry,” said Joe Ironi, a director with the Ontario Limousine Owner Association.