B.C.’s restaurant industry has joined a national campaign calling on the federal government to provide immediate relief and protection for restaurant owners and staff suffering through the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The #OneTable campaign has released videos online and through social media featuring restaurant owners in B.C. and Ontario who candidly share how public health orders have impacted their business and staff, and say help is urgently needed.

“Right now, what we need is someone to loosen the noose around our necks,” Scott Jaegar, owner of the Pear Tree Restaurant in Burnaby, says in one of the videos.

Meeru Dhalwala, co-owner of the famous Vij’s Indian restaurant in Vancouver and several other eateries, says the company has seen a 90 per cent loss in revenue this month.

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“We are not just a bunch of individual restaurant owners,” she says in the same B.C.-focused video. “We are families, and we are crucial to the future of this country.

Other owners talk about having to lay off their entire staff after the province issued a health order banning dine-in service at restaurants, allowing only takeout or delivery.

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Farmers, foragers and other producers who provide food to restaurants like Forage have also suffered and may be irreparably harmed, Forage owner Margot Baloro says in the video.

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