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Protests by business owners persist in downtown Ottawa.



There’s growing discontent among entrepreneurs in the city’s downtown, which are being forced to close because due to”Freedom Convoy” protests “Freedom Convoy” protest.

The Rideau Centre was scheduled to open on Monday; however, since authorities were unable to ensure a secure reopening, The website says it will remain closed and that the decision to reopen again will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

“It’s been hard to operate,” said Tee, downtown’s small business owner. “The logistics of delivery drivers able to get in and the safety of our staff. It’s been very stressful.”

The restrictions on dining indoors were removed on Jan. 31; however, due to the ongoing conflict, some restaurants took the difficult decision to stay closed for security concerns.

“We have a wonderful team, a lot of talent, an amazing menu, but we cannot open our doors,” said Devinder Choudhary, the owner of Ariana, located on O’Connor Street. The line of vehicles and trucks is hindering entry to the eatery employees and patrons.

“There’s a sense of helplessness. There’s nothing we can do.”

With no end to be seen and Valentine’s Day around the corner, the CEO is afraid of losing more business.

“We are almost fully booked for that service, and I’m not sure we will be able to offer this wonderfully planned experience for our guests,” he added.

Some people working in the hospitality sector established the Ottawa Restaurant Fund. The money will go towards expenses for overhead and directly to employees who have been affected by the lockdowns repeatedly caused by the pandemic, as well as the demonstration.

“The goal is to raise at least $250,000,” said Joe Thottungal, owner of Thali. “All restaurants within”the zone of red” will have the highest prioritization in applying.”

In less than 48 hours, more than $15,000.00 was collected.

Organizers are currently forming a committee that will be responsible for disbursing the money. Information on how restaurant owners can apply for grants will be announced in the following days.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands of employee restaurant workers hurting. We need to help them, and we need to help them now,” said Choudhary.

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