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Campaign launched to assist restaurants struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic
A man tapes signs in a restaurant window in Toronto on Sunday March 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
TORONTO -- A well-known beer maker is hoping to help restaurants that are struggling as a result of the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Stella Artois has launched the Rally for Restaurants gift card program, a campaign it says will provide local establishments with immediate financial relief.
It works like this: Restaurants, pubs and bars across Canada can register online to be part of the program. From there, customers can buy a gift card to use at participating eateries for take-out, or whenever the establishment fully re-opens, and Stella Artois will add an additional $10 to the value of the card.
The global initiative, which is rolling out in 10 different countries, includes over 200 restaurants and bars that have signed up across Canada.
In Toronto, popular spots like Antler Kitchen and Bar and Piano Piano are taking part, as well as a number of restaurants operated by celebrity chef Mark McEwan.
According to organizers Labatt Breweries of Canada, the program is offered without any stipulations on redemption.
"Many of these establishments have had to close down during the COVID-19 emergency, while others are trying to get by on take-out,” Todd Allen, VP of Marketing at Labatt Breweries of Canada said in a news release. “It's an extremely challenging period and we want to offer as much support as possible."
Earlier this month, Ontario health officials recommended the closure of all restaurants and bars, with the exception of takeout and delivery options, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
On March 23, the Ontario government enforced those recommendations with an order to all non-essential services to close down.
"We're hoping that Rally for Restaurants will not only help restaurants and bars in the immediate term, but will also help safeguard the future of the industry and inspire Canadians to join our efforts by purchasing gift cards over the weeks to come,” Allen said.
Campaign organizers say that Stella Artois will be contributing a total of $250,000 to the program.