Sask. NDP calls on province to extend off-sale allowances for province’s restaurants

The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the provincial government to reverse their decision to end off-sale privileges for restaurants as they recover from the pandemic.

Economy and Jobs Critic Aleana Young says the decision is very short-sided, adding they didn’t give restaurants enough time to adjust to the announcement.

“This is a sector that has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite us all knowing, for quite some time, that restrictions were set to be lifted on Sunday, restaurants were given four days notice,” said Young. “Which anyone who has ever run a small business, is not a whole lot of lead time to make critical decisions.”

Josh McLean, the owner of Regina’s Homestead Bar A Vin, says the only reason his business survived the pandemic was because of off-sale, adding he’d like to be able to use it in recovery too.

“We’ve been in survival mode, and it was very gracious of them to allow us to do off-sale, like I said it kept us afloat,” said McLean. “On July 11th, it’s not like our bank accounts magically fill back up, we have lost a significant of money during the pandemic, and to take away an avenue for us to create some revenue to rebuild what we’ve lost, with four days notice is unacceptable.”

McLean says restaurants aren’t asking for a handout, they just want the government to understand the financial stresses they’re dealing with due to the pandemic.

Young says even though the off-sale allowance was brought in as a temporary fix, taking it away so quick would be devastating.

“This recovery doesn’t happen overnight, and this recovery takes time for folks to get back to even a semblance of normalcy and bail themselves out from the tens and tens of thousands of dollars of debt that they’ve incurred over the past nearly two years.”

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