‘We can’t blame anyone but coronavirus’: Popular restaurants, pubs in BC forced to close for good
After nearly 10 years in business, Emik Malak did his last shift at his Bellaggio Café in the Vancouver Convention Center in mid-September.
“Sometimes you have to say, I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” owner Bellaggio told Global News.
Rely on subsidies since the launch of COVID-19, the tables are empty and Malak knows the location relies heavily on tourism – it’s borrowed time.
“Over there [are] there are no cruise ships, no tourists and no conventions,” he said.
BC pubs to close after health order to cut alcohol sales early
At its peak before the summer pandemic, Malak had 35 employees. As of September 2020, he has left 25 years old amid a slump in sales.
“Sadly, you go from $22,000 a day down to $200, $500 – how do you make any money?” Malak said.
In May last year, The Holy Crab was also forced to close.
The owner of the Louisiana-inspired seafood restaurant, which has garnered a loyal following for three years on Robson Street, told Global News he doesn’t want to run away from his obligations – but has become a victim. a landlord’s employee who refuses to participate in the government’s rent reduction program.
Ottawa still promises but doesn’t implement new commercial rent reduction program
“I feel like what small businesses like mine really need in this moment is a break,” Henri William said, days before permanently closing his restaurant.
17 months later, William, who has transitioned to a new career in the tech industry, said there was a loophole in the CECRA program that required homeowners to be proactive in applying for benefits, but some didn’t want to pay $25 each. percentage of rent so their commercial tenants can be subsidized.
Valentine’s Day at Holy Crab
Jeff Donnelly is slowly reopening 17 pubs and cocktail clubs in his neighborhoods in Vancouver and Toronto.
“I personally owe millions of dollars this year,” said Donnelly, who started the business in 1999.
In mid-March 2020, the Donnelly Group closed all of its facilities – it is unknown when or if they will reopen.
At the time, the independent pub group had more than 1,000 employees. Donnelly said more than 900 employees have been laid off.
“When we had to close because of the heat of the pandemic, the government just said that every dollar you receive goes directly to your landlord.”
“You will see a lot of casualties, a lot of casualties,” Group CEO Donnelly told Global News.
The famous Blackbird Public Building in Vancouver’s financial district is one of them.
“This is a year and a half later, so it’s a lot easier,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly is said to be extending the lease on the site he considers a “cultural hub” for his employees as he also said the landlord has decided not to apply for the rent subsidy. .
“They’re asking us to pay the rent which we just decided is unfair, you know, it doesn’t make any sense,” said Donnelly.
“It’s a really tough place, it’s one of my favorite places.”
With 60% of his workforce back, Donnelly feels lucky to be able to continue.
“We have had to save all our lives, some people may have lost their life savings,” he said.
‘We’re just bleeding’: Vancouver pub blamed closures for new COVID-19 alcohol rules
Metropole Pub blamed the September 2020 closure on COVID-19 alcohol rules.
Stopping alcohol sales at 10pm is unsustainable as 60% of pub business happens between 10pm and 2am
General manager Matt Thompson told Global News at the time: “If you cut our sales in half with these initial restrictions, then cut it again by more than half, we are just bleeding,” general manager Matt Thompson told Global News.
In a November 3 post on social media, Taylight Brewing in Port Coquitlam announced they would be closing on November 5 after twenty challenging months.
The craft brewery opened in August 2018 and has been shortlisted as a stop on the North Fraser route of the BC Ale Trail.
In her Facebook post, Taylight said the impacts of COVID-19 had unfortunately caught up with them – adding that they were saddened to learn that they were “not the first and certainly won’t be the business.” Small businesses are finally closing due to the lingering effects of this unprecedented pandemic. “
Trump International Hotel Vancouver closes well, staff say
The BC Hotel Association said its members were also hit hard by the loss of international travel, convention and tourism.
President and CEO Ingrid Jarrett told Global News that thousands of motel rooms around the province have been closed since the start of the pandemic.
Sixteen BC hotels have pivoted to quarantine Canadian travelers returning home, while the province has revoked 1,542 rooms to house the homeless.
BC Housing has purchased 21 hotels and motels, and three SROs since March 2020 – at a total cost of $380.7 million.
Trump Hotel in Vancouver closes well
Other properties, like the Trump International Hotel in Vancouver, have closed to good performance.
“Some hotels and some hotels as described are doing well below that number, have either changed hands for reuse or closed due to financial difficulties and bankruptcies like Trump Tower,” said Jarrett. speak.
After giving up his lease at Canada Place, Malak said he will focus on his other Bellagio Café on Hornby Street.
“If the subsidies stopped, you would see 50% of the restaurant industry in BC going up,” said Malak, who is leaving with some debt.
“We can’t blame anyone but the coronavirus, and you know the coronavirus isn’t going away.”
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