Local restaurants likely to struggle under “Red” zone

December 17, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Dufferin County moved to the “Red” zone for COVID-19 restrictions on Monday and one of the largest changes is the reduction to a 10-person capacity at restaurants.

Some local restaurants won’t bother offering indoor dining under the new restrictions, since it’s difficult to turn a profit with such a low number of tables being served at one time, but many are opting to keep their dining rooms open, with reservations recommended.

The reduced dining capacity will definitely damage many Orangeville restaurants ability to generate revenue, but General Manager of the Orangeville Business Improvement Association (OBIA), Alison Scheel said her organization recognizes the need for increased restrictions.  

“The health of our community is obviously our primary concern. Nobody wants anyone to get sick, so we understand and respect the Province and the health board’s decision. We wish it didn’t have to happen… but we get it,” she said.

A handful of Orangeville businesses have closed down permanently for reasons related to the pandemic and by early spring of next year, there will be a much clearer picture of COVID-19’s impact, since the first three months of any year are typically the hardest to generate revenue, Scheel noted.

“We’ll see what happens after the holidays… I’m sure a lot of the businesses were hanging on with the hopes that things would improve over the Christmas/holiday shopping season and hopefully they will, but we’ll see after the holidays and what happens in January, February, and March. Those are going to be the really tight months, so it’s really important,” she explained.

With Christmas around the corner, Scheel said it’s important to note that there’s still going to be lots of great opportunities to shop locally in the new year and there’s still countless high quality restaurants to order takeout from.

“We have an incredible array of restaurants offering really great local food and we highly encourage everybody to try takeout from a local restaurant,” she noted.

Scheel said it’s well worth it to spend a few extra dollars on dinner to get out and enjoy a freshly cooked meal or have it delivered directly to your door.

She told the Citizen she’d like to thank the Orangeville community for being so incredibly supportive of downtown businesses through the pandemic.

The OBIA is currently drafting its 2021 budget and is hopeful for a return to normal later next year.

“We’re hoping that things sort themselves out over the winter and spring and that we’re able to bring our regular event programming late next year, but we don’t know what the future holds for us yet,” said Scheel.

“It will depend on the vaccine and how quickly everyone’s vaccinated… and how soon the government will allow gatherings,” she added.

In the meantime, Scheel said the OBIA will continue to support local businesses and with all the economic challenges posed by COVID-19, she encourages the public to do the same.

“We’re honoured to support the businesses in downtown Orangeville and we just hope that people will support them as best they can over the next two months,” Scheel remarked.

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