There is a magnificent building on a corner in downtown Toronto. It used to be a reputable, longtime Italian restaurant (I’m not sure when it closed) but there are now signs up in the tall windows (I’m not sure when they went up).

Opening soon. Yummy healthy plant based.

You can read the optimism in the signs.

You can only imagine the confidence of the entrepreneurs planning this new unnamed enterprise. It’s in a great spot, right around the corner from another popular restaurant, and so close the both the financial and entertainment districts.

This space has the top three requirements of good real estate: location, location, location.

Plant-based food has been trending for a couple of years. People are eating healthy, and thinking healthy. There’s a popular gym right across the street.

The restaurant business is built on optimism. There is decor to plan, equipment to purchase, menus to figure out, prices to set, suppliers to arrange and staff to hire, and everything is planned around the hopes that people will show up on opening day and beyond..

Opening soon.

It can take months to set up such an enterprise, especially one that will be operating out of such a large, fine space. But, who knows how soon soon will be?

Restaurants in this province have been required to close because of the coronavirus; except to take out and delivery. It hasn’t even been two weeks.

It wasn’t in anybody’s plans. Heck, 10 days ago I was out enjoying a Saturday night dinner at another popular downtown Toronto restaurant. The place was full. At that time the stock markets were beginning to tip, and a coronavirus death was not even in this country, or on this continent.

Since then some restaurants have remained open for take-out. Others have simply shut down for a while. We are now talking pandemic, and social distancing and self-isolation, and staying home.

Two days ago the mayor of this city declared a state of emergency. Later that day the premier of the province ordered that all non-essential businesses close for a period of two weeks, at least.

That’s not good for the restaurant industry. That’s not good for any business.

The sign in the window of a nearby family-owned grill reads: This too shall pass.

That’s the optimism of the restaurant business. People need to eat. People will soon be out and about after the danger of COVID-19 has passed.

How soon is soon?

Soon is a subjective word. It could mean next week, or next month, and hopefully not much longer than that. Depending on which politician you are listening to, it could be either weeks or months; or maybe, not at all.

The economy is tanking. Everywhere. Recession? Depression? Market correction?

The restaurant business has traditionally been about survival of the fittest. Some will not survive another couple of weeks without cash flow. Some restaurants will not reopen.

Some may not open at all.

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