The Official Opposition supports the hospitality industry’s call for the Higgs Government to help struggling restaurant and bar operations in the province.
“As part of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic, local restaurant and bar owners are struggling to stay afloat with some anticipating losses of up to 85% of their year-over-year revenue” says the Official Opposition critic for Economic Development, Gilles LePage. “The Higgs government has been very reluctant to provide direct financial aid to businesses, but the hospitality sector, supported by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce has proposed two ways government could provide much needed support to the restaurant industry in New Brunswick, and we fully support these requests.”
The Chamber suggests waiving license renewal fees for current food premise and liquor license holders for 2021-2022, and that government limit the commission percentage food delivery apps are allowed to charge in New Brunswick.
“Waiving the food premise and liquor license fees and limiting the commission percentage food delivery apps are allowed to charge are small gestures on Government’s part that could have a major impact on local restaurants” says Gilles LePage. “We know the economy is not doing well, the tourism numbers from this summer and the third quarter financial results paint a gloomy picture of the coming months. Our economy is in a dangerous situation, it’s shrinking, and Government must do everything in its power to help our businesses survive the pandemic.”
Since people are encouraged to stay home as much as possible during the pandemic, ordering food delivery through third-party apps has become very popular, but this increase in popularity doesn’t translate to an increase in profits for restaurants says LePage. “While other jurisdictions have capped it at 15%, New Brunswick restaurants are paying up to 30% commission on these orders. New Brunswickers are ordering from their favourite local restaurants because they want to support their local businesses, not a large corporation located outside the province or the country.”