B.C. restaurants struggling to make CEBA loan deadline

It’s been a tough few years for B.C.’s restaurant industry. As the deadline looms for repayment of the federal CEBA loan, industry experts say up to 2,000 restaurants across B.C. may not make it. Cecilia Hua has the story.

By Cecilia Hua

As the Jan. 18 deadline for federal CEBA loan repayments approaches, many restaurants in B.C. are struggling to secure the funds.

Pegster’s Coffee Shop in North Vancouver has been serving the Lonsdale community for the last 19 years, but despite a loyal customer base, the owner has had to let go of all her staff, working more than 12 hours a day to keep the shop open. With no more extensions from the

“We just got out of the pandemic and we did not do well straight away… how am I supposed to come up with the $40k to pay?” said Peggy Lee, owner of Pegster’s.

The window of Pegster's, a restaurant in Vancouver.
The owner of Pegster’s, a restaurant in Vancouver, says she is among those in B.C. struggling to secure funds to repay federal CEBA loans. (Cecilia Hua, CityNews Image)

Industry experts say many restaurants and small businesses are in the same boat, with an estimate of 2000 restaurants at risk of closing come early next year.

“For a small business to accumulate that, in view of all the other things they have to pay, is a lot. I think we’re going to see a lot of casualties,” said B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association President Ian Tostenson.

Despite the financial challenges, Peggy is determined to keep the shop open for as long as she can for the community to enjoy.

“This place is such a happy place, even if the customers are new, they’ll join in on the conversation. That’s why it’s so hard to leave,” she said.

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