Some businesses have been able to pivot and find new ways of doing things during the pandemic – having workers operate from home, for example – some had only one option….to close. Most visible of those are restaurants and bars.
And we now have the first indication of how much they have been hurt financially.
Some operations were able to continue with limited service – take out or delivery only – but some, like bars, were simply closed. And the imposition of the pandemic shutdown came a day or two before St. Patrick’s Day meaning many had laid out cash for extra inventory only to have the doors locked before they could sell it.
StatsCan has just released the March figures for this sector and, while operators had half a month of normal operation before the pandemic declaration, the impact was extreme. Sales in bars and taverns fell 55-percent in March. In other words, they were open for half a month and closed for half. So, they had virtually zero revenue after the declaration.
Restaurants saw a 48-percent reduction nationally.
Here in Saskatchewan total sales for the sector fell 30-percent….the lowest of all the provinces.