patios open

Toronto restaurant sends an invoice to Doug Ford for spoiled beer kegs after patio flip flop

The hope and excitement that food and drink establishments in Ontario had for recovering after months of forced closures was completely quashed with the announcement of the provincewide shutdown that went into effect over the weekend, and the industry is not at all hiding its anger at Premier Doug Ford and his team.

Many restaurant owners, servers and bartenders, and residents alike have hopped onto social media to express their outrage about the situation, with one business in Toronto going as far as to send Ford an invoice for some of the product they scrambled to purchase after patios were suddenly permitted to open in the city earlier this month.

"Two weeks ago, you assured Toronto restaurateurs that we were safe to open our outdoor spaces to our diners. Having been locked down for over 100 days in Toronto... we followed all the proper protocols and jumped at the chance to open," the proprietors of Dundas West spot Antler wrote in a letter to the premier, per CTV News.

"You say you care about Toronto's restaurants. And we know you care about beer. So we're sending an invoice to you for two kegs worth of beer that will spoil because of this shut down."

Enclosed in the message was a bill for $431.55, which is far short of even just the immediate financial losses that such businesses are incurring as a result of yet another shutdown.

The team behind Ration at the Beverley Hotel posted a five-and-a-half minute long Instagram video citing costs of $4,764 in wine, $5,237 in spirits, $871 in beer and $2,300 in food, all of which they ordered anticipation of being able to finally open their patio doors.

The post scrutinizes the province's mismanagement of the pandemic and resulting business closures, mentioning the fact that restaurants were given only one day to prepare for the resumption of outdoor dining, which was snatched away from them again after two short weeks and sometimes tens of thousands invested.

"We turned on the news to find that our time, our hard-earned dollars and our integrity have been smeared by the incompetence of our government," continues Ration founder Wesley Barber. "Here we are ready for service with no one to serve on a gorgeous day in Toronto, which was meant to be our first service."

Barber reiterates in the video — which has now has now been viewed more than 12,000 times — how safe outdoor dining with proper social distancing and other rigid protocols has proven to be, adding that his team now feels like it has gone from having "absolute definite purpose to feeling like you've got absolutely nothing."

And he's far from alone in his sentiments, with numerous other business owners in hospitality and beyond calling for different sorts of restrictions that would mitigate virus spread without destroying people's livelihoods and the establishments that make the city what it is in the process.

Kitchen on Sixth in South Etobicoke, much like Antler, sent a message to Ford demanding compensation for the newspaper ad the owners purchased to announce their patio reopening.

"I also spent $2,000 on outdoor heaters, bought a bunch of table top hand sanitizers, new glassware etc. that I didn't need to purchase yet and has definitely made a hole seeing as I'm not going to need them for however long," they added in the email they publicly shared on Instagram.

Long-running Cafe Diplomatico, much like Ration, cited a loss of $10,000 of supplies they purchased when they thought they'd be able to host diners on their patio over the long weekend.

Owner Rocco Mastrangel told the Star that he thinks the government's focus should be on places like construction sites and and packing plants, with such settings having served as grounds for multiple outbreaks over the health crisis.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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