Dear Mr. Ford and Representative,
As a hospitality worker in this riding, I am writing to you to express my concerns as someone affected by the economic restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. As thousands of Ontario residents receive vaccinations every day, I am eager for these restrictions to lift so that I may resume work and get my life and career back on track.
When discussing the re-opening of the restaurant industry, I recognize there are many considerations to keep in mind when prioritizing public health and safety of Ontario. I know freedoms such as indoor dining and full restaurant capacity may not be in the cards as we ease back into business.
This said, I urge the leadership in Ontario to consider re-opening the restaurant industry with a midnight closing time rather than the 9pm last call stipulated in the current Red and Orange Zone frameworks.
For many bars and restaurants the majority of their business occurs after 9pm. With a 9pm last call, countless establishments will continue to struggle and will be unable to support their full work-force. Most workers will remain unemployed or will be forced to work at multiple restaurants, potentially increasing the spread of COVID-19.
There is no evidence to support that an earlier last call has any preventative effect on the spread of COVID-19. Global studies have been inconclusive in linking curfews to curbing virus spread, with mobile data indicating that earlier closing times for businesses only lead to crowding during limited opening hours. A 9pm last call only encourages summer bar-goers to gather in long lines on the sidewalk, or take their late-night alcohol consumption to unregulated spaces rather than continue to socialize in a public health approved restaurant.
I fear that if bars and restaurants have to re-open with a 9pm last call, many restaurants will be unable to recuperate their losses this summer, and we will be setting up conditions that encourage unsafe illegal gatherings.
When the time is right for Ontario to exit the current COVID-19 restrictions, I call on you to set Ontario restaurants up for success. Please support a midnight closing time for bars and restaurants in the Orange and Red Zones rather than the current 9pm last call.
Thank you for your commitment, and I look forward to receiving a response from you.