The MRFA is dedicated to keeping our members informed during this time. Stay tuned to your inboxes as we will provide information as it becomes available, and as always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns you have and we will do our best to aid you. We can be contacted at 204-783-9955 or through [email protected].



As of today, March 20th, The Manitoba government is declaring a provincewide state of emergency under The Emergency Measures Act to protect the health and safety of all Manitobans and reduce the spread of COVID-19, Premier Brian Pallister announced today.

As part of this announcement, the following applies to restaurants:

  • Limiting hospitality premises where food or alcohol is served or any theatres offering live performances of music, dance and other art forms as movies theatres to 50 people or 50 per cent of the capacity of the premises, whichever is lesser.  These establishments must be able to ensure social distance of one to two metres between customers.

Please be aware that the Emergency Measures Act makes not adhering to its orders an offense. 

As well, your staff should be extra vigilant about hand washing and other sanitary precautions, and they should stay home and self isolate if they are feeling unwell.

To learn more about the State of Emergency in Manitoba, see the Province’s news release. To learn more about social distancing, see The Province of Manitoba’s Social Distancing webpage. To learn more about precautions for restaurants, see this Notice from Manitoba’s Health Protection Unit.


Many restaurants have already chosen to close, either partially or fully. If you choose to close your in-house dining to the public, you may consider operating as take-out and delivery only. If you do not have your own delivery service, there are many third-party delivery services to consider using, depending on your area within the province. You could also consider utilizing more than one of these services to increase your possibility of sales during this time. You may also want to consider switching up your menu to include meal-kit style meals or take-and-bake style meal offerings as well.

If you make the difficult decision to close your establishment entirely for the time being, it is important to consider the following:


Deciding whether to keep staff on or temporarily lay them off is difficult. You will have to decide based on what is best for your business. Paying staff during a closure is a financial strain, but it may ensure you have the loyal staff you need when you reopen. If you decide to temporarily lay off staff, make sure to provide them with a Record of Employment (ROE). ROEs are necessary for them to be able to claim Employment Insurance (EI). This will be a difficult time for your employees, but some economic aid may be available to them soon. This Global News article, this Winnipeg Free Press article, and this page on the Canadian federal government website outlines the current status of the planned economic aid from the federal government for individuals and businesses, and we will continue to share updates with our members.


You likely have food which may spoil if not used soon. The MRFA urges you to consider donating your food to charitable causes in your area. For example, this Global News article outlines what one group has chosen to do. Contact your favorite charitable organization and see if they can make use of your product. You might also consider offering some product to staff, as this will be a difficult time for them as well. This is a difficult time for everyone and your support can make a huge difference for those in need.


You’ve likely posted an announcement to your website or social media already. Consider staying active on your digital platform of choice so that you guests can engage with you and your business. This way, when you decide to open again, your guests who have been keeping up with your posts will know right away and will likely be looking forward to returning to your establishment. The MRFA is also striving to post positive info about our members on our social media during this time, so feel free to tag us or share your posts with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter so we can help you spread the word.


There is no hard and fast answer to this question right now. Stay up to date on the news, the public perception on social media, and stay tuned to your inboxes from us as we will pass along information as it becomes available. What you can do in the meantime is have a plan of action for how you will get your establishment up and running when the time is right:

    • What staff will you have available to schedule? Consider letting your staff know your plan so that they are ready when you are.
    • What products will you need to get in and how soon can you order them? Stay in touch with your suppliers.
    • Is your establishment ready to open from a cleanliness perspective? Consider cleaning thoroughly and often while you are closed.
    • Is there anything you’ve been meaning to get to recently but haven’t? Now is a good time to work out issues such technology kinks or repairs and other maintenance.


Closing your doors is a difficult decision with financial implications for your business. As mentioned above in the section for employees, there are resources for Canadian individuals which you may need to consider for yourself, but there are also financial resources for businesses. This page on the Canadian federal government website (also linked above in the Employees section) outlines the current status of the planned economic aid from the federal government for both individuals and businesses. The plan outlines the following (as outlined in a summary from the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce):

  • Support through Export Development Canada for affected businesses, and a boosted Farm Credit Canada for agricultural operations.
  • Enhancements for small businesses wanting to keep staff employed and paid (commitment to pay 10% of salary)
  • An emergency care benefit up to 14 weeks for workers who need to stay home due to illness or because of care duties for an ill loved one.
  • An emergency support benefit for the self-employed unable to work.
  • Delayed payments for income tax owing for 2019 tax year until August 2020.
  • More targeted funding for vulnerable populations: boosts to the Canada Child Benefit, GST payments, 6-month interest-free moratorium for student loans, additional support for homelessness and victims of gender-based violence, and specific funding for Indigenous communities.

As more information becomes available, the MRFA will be sharing updates with our members.

The MRFA is your resource for information during this difficult and confusing time. Please stay tuned to your inboxes and reach out to us as necessary. Our goal right now is to help our industry through this time of crisis and successfully rebuild on the other side. We appreciate your support and efforts to keep our community safe and thriving.


Shaun Jeffrey
Executive Director
[email protected]
Megan McIntosh
Operations Coordinator
[email protected]
Nia Ross
Member Services, Social Media
[email protected]


Office number: 204-783-9955