Many restaurateurs across Toronto are making the difficult choice to temporarily shut down amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Sunday afternoon, Toronto restaurateur and celebrated author Jen Agg took to social media to express her reasons for shutting down all her locations (Grey Gardens, Bar Vendetta, Le Swan, Rhum Corner).
“We are shutting it all down, which doesn’t just feel like the right choice or even the only choice at this point, it feels like a moral obligation,” she says in her Instagram video.
In addition to closing all her restaurants, Agg also suggests buying gift cards to support local business, while also pleading for support from the government.
Heyyyy the government: MAKE RESTAURANTS BARS AND NIGHTCLUBS AND CAFES CLOSE! And offer RELIEF it’s the ONLY WAY (anything else is morally and fiscally unethical) Like WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR??
— Jen Agg (@TheBlackHoof) March 16, 2020
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Celebrity chef Susur Lee also announced the temporary closure of Lee Restaurant with a series of Instagram posts. “It’s not goodbye” reads their most recent post.
Other restaurants are also following suit, including, DaiLo, Buena Copa, Nice Nice, and FK Restaurant. Le Phenix and the Comrade are doing delivery only, El Mocambo is postponing their opening. Chase Hospitality Group is also suspending restaurant operations for Kasa Moto, Palm Lane, Planta, The Chase and other affiliated restaurants across Toronto.
Update: Late Monday afternoon, the city’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, recommended bars and restaurants close down. The recommendations came in light of new evidence regarding the “community transmission” of COVID-19.
De Villa is encouraging bars and restaurants to stick to take-out and delivery service no later than midnight. She also “strongly recommended” night clubs, movie theatres and concert venues close their doors as soon as possible. If businesses choose not to comply, they risk being subject to a daily fine of $25,000.