MEDIA RELEASE: Manitoba’s Restaurant Relief Fund Expanded to Include Fast Casual

Jun 4, 2021 | Chamber News, Corporate Member News, Front Page, Government News

WINNIPEG June 4, 2021: The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, in partnership with the Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association, today announced the expansion of the Dine-in Restaurant Relief Program to include a new subset of eligible restaurants: fast casual.

“Since the launch of the Dine-In Restaurant Relief Fund in January 2021, we have approved 678 applications and returned almost $6.3 million in rebates to Manitoba’s restaurant community,” said Chuck Davidson, President and CEO of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. “We are deeply appreciative to the Province of Manitoba for an additional $2 million injection to the fund which enables us to open up a new intake for applications from yet another tranche of affected Manitoba restaurants — fast casual.”

Fast casual restaurants are independently-owned restaurants with limited eat-in capacity, and whose revenues are driven in large part by walk-up counter service, rather than traditional “quick service” national chains (also known as QSR’s). Fast casual owner-operators have dealt with capacity restrictions for a large portion of the pandemic, including seven consecutive months amid the current Critical (red) level restrictions of the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System. They’re closed to in-person dining at least until June 12, and they’ve already faced two previous shut-downs to dine-in service.

“The Manitoba government appreciates the significant sacrifices made by our restaurant community to protect Manitobans from COVID-19,” said Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Jobs for the Manitoba government. “The additional $2 million investment in the fund that we announced on May 10 is able to provide much-needed support to yet another segment of the restaurant industry, which we know has been dedicated to safe service and compliance with public health orders.”

Although COVID-19 prevention orders permit restaurants to provide take-out, curbside pick-up, and delivery, fast casual restaurants have been hit hard.

“In a time when the restaurant industry in Manitoba has experienced significant ongoing revenue losses, we are thankful to be able to make a real impact with this fund, which has been a lifeline for many of our members,” said Shaun Jeffrey, executive director & CEO, Manitoba Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “For the third time since the declaration of the pandemic, fast casual restaurants are prohibited from operating eat-in service and overall sales have been affected by COVID-19 prevention orders which include recommendations to work-from-home when possible and limiting time outside of the home. Phase 3 of the fund will help even more restaurants weather the storm.”

Phase 3 of the Restaurant Relief Fund opens to NEW applications from fast casual restaurants, as well as to NEW applications from caterers/rural restaurants, online on Monday, June 7, 2021 at 10 AM CST. The deadline to apply is June 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM. Phase 3 will also provide funds to offset food delivery service fees incurred during the month of March 2021 for previously-approved Phase 1 dine-in restaurants ONLY (no longer accepting new applicants from the dine-in restaurant category), as well as funds to enable a second rebate payment equal to the first for caterers/rural restaurants accepted in Phase 2.

For information about the Dine-In Restaurant Relief Fund, including eligibility criteria, click here to view an FAQ. The Phase 3 application process will launch on June 7 here.

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