A new report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows the hospitality industry has been the hardest hit sector in Alberta by the pandemic.
According to the CFIB, only six per cent of Alberta restaurants, hotels and caterers are currently open and 57 per cent are at risk of closing permanently.
“We are definitely a long way off from businesses being back to normal,” said Annie Dormuth, CFIB’s Alberta director.
“It really depends on a lot of factors: how long these restrictions will take place, were all hearing about the variants and of course the vaccine distribution across Canada.”
If businesses don’t get the aid they need quickly, Dormouth says more Albertans will be out of work in the coming months.
The Alberta Hospitality Association worries more closures could change the hospitality landscape for good.
“The idea of kind of always turning on and off — these businesses are like big ships and you’re trying to make them turn 180 degrees in really fast and choppy water. It’s almost impossible,” said Brennen Wowk, co-president of the Alberta Hospitality Association and owner of Bo’s Bar & Stage.
Kaze Finest is one of many restaurants that may not survive the next few months if the situation doesn’t drastically change.
Sandrine Mugisha says it was always her dream to open up a restaurant with her husband Rashib Mawanie.
The pair opened Kaze Finest African restaurant in May, shortly after the pandemic hit Alberta.
After multiple closures and not being able to offer dine-in service, their dreams quickly turned into a financial nightmare.
“I’ve been using my savings to pay the rent and pay the bills because we are not making enough money,” Mawanie said.
Mawanie says if they don’t get government help or a lot more customers fast, their doors will be closed in two months.