White Spot restaurant chain lays off 3,000 workers due to coronavirus

The White Spot location on West Georgia Street in Vancouver, sold for $245 million in 2017. Global News

The owner of White Spot restaurants says about 3,000 workers have been laid off in the last week because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ron Toigo, who also owns the Vancouver Giants hockey team, echoes other business owners in countless sectors who say the economic effects of COVID-19 will be deeply felt.

“Corporately, we’re probably more resilient than the franchisees, but the franchisees are family-owned operations,” Toigo told Global News on Tuesday. “And those are the guys we’re really concerned about.”

Click to play video: 'White Spot celebrates 90th anniversary'
White Spot celebrates 90th anniversary

He said the restaurant industry was already struggling the last few years, and the social-distancing measures and other health orders have made it worse.

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White Spot restaurants are still offering takeout service, while the Triple O’s locations have moved to drive-thru only.

“All that does is mitigate the downside. There’s no way anybody is going to be able to break even for the foreseeable future.”

A well-loved brand, White Spot is Canada’s longest running restaurant chain, having been founded in 1928, and has more than 130 locations in B.C., Alberta and even Asia.

B.C. has ordered the suspension of all dine-in service at bars and restaurants in an effort to slow the transmission of COVID-19, resulting in mass layoffs and even permanent closures.

The province has introduced a $5-billion aid package to help offset businesses’ losses, with a focus on the deferral of tax payments.

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