A trifecta of Vancouver-based restaurant chains — Donnelly Group, The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, and Cactus Club Cafe — are closing due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
All three chains are responding to falling business demand, growing health and safety concerns for both their workers and customers, and escalating government interventions to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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Both The Keg and Cactus Club Cafe will completely close Tuesday, March 17. The Donnelly Group’s closure of its pubs and cocktail bars will begin after closure on Monday, March 16.
Earls Kitchen + Bar has also decided to close all 66 of its locations across North America, those restaurants will still offer takeout and delivery.
The Keg alone employs more than 10,000 people across its 160 locations across Canada and the US. It was forced to close all of its locations in the City of Toronto on Monday night, following a municipal order that shuttered all dining rooms and bars.
“As we have seen over recent weeks, the global spread of COVID-19 is impacting us all. Like most, we have been carefully monitoring the progression and have been strictly following the advice of both Canada and US public health authorities,” said The Keg CEO David Aisenstat and president Nick Dean in a joint statement.
They believe their closure will last for two weeks, but that remains to be seen.
“The health and safety of our Guests and Keg employees continues to be our highest priority,” continued Aisenstat and Dean. “As the virus continues to spread in communities across Canada and the US, we have made the difficult but important decision to close all of our restaurants in the communities we are a part of.”
As for Cactus Club Cafe, they are temporarily suspending all dine-in operations until March 31, at which point they will also reassess their ability to safely reopen. In the meantime, they are ramping up takeaway and delivery platforms as their alternative business operation during the crisis.
Cactus Club Cafe has 31 locations in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.
“Everything we are doing is with input from our people throughout the organization,” said Richard Jaffray, president and founder of Cactus Restaurants. “We are doing our best to balance whatever is right for our employees, our guests, and our communities.”
Jeffrey Donnelly, president of The Donnelly Group, had similar messaging in his statement on the decision to close his company’s roughly 20 locations in Vancouver and Toronto.
“As a small business, like many others across Canada, we will be looking to the government for economic support. We’ll aim to reopen all of our businesses when the time is right but without the help of our landlords, lenders and suppliers aiding us to alleviate this financial burden, it’s possible they may not all make it,” said Donnelly.
“When this passes, we’re sure that support for local, independent businesses such as our own as well as the businesses we support will be necessary for communities to get back on their feet.”