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G20 takes a bite out of restaurants Add to ...

As the G20 descended on downtown and Torontonians stayed away, restaurants were shuttered and shops saw little foot traffic - now, new data on credit card and debit transactions during G20 week has started to show the depth of the damage.

Moneris Solutions, the country's largest debit and credit-card processor, released a report Monday showing how the decline in business from the previous weekend affected businesses across the city, with restaurants being the hardest hit.

Eateries inside the summit security perimeter took in a whopping 66 per cent less money during the weekend of June 25 to 27 than the weekend before. They also recorded 56 per cent fewer transactions.

Downtown restaurants adjacent to the security zone lost 32 per cent of their dollar revenue and 25 per cent of transactions.

Retail stores weren't as badly affected, but still suffered a 40 per cent drop in transactions and a 28 per cent drop in revenue in the security zone. Downtown retailers outside the zone saw declines of 10 and 16 per cent respectively.

In the entire City of Toronto, retail sales were down 9 per cent and transactions fell 15 per cent.

Since cash transactions aren't factored into the figures, the total losses could be even higher.

Janice Solomon, executive director of the Entertainment District Business Improvement Area, which represents businesses inside the summit zone and in the area immediately to the north, said members reported losses of revenue of about 60 per cent in the week leading up to the summit and even more over the course of the weekend.

On Saturday, many were forced to close outright.

"On Saturday, when they closed the TTC downtown and a lot of their staff couldn't get there, you could say that for a lot of people, that number dropped down to 100 per cent," she said. "It's a huge loss."

The waterfront, south of the summit site, fared no better.

"There was no one down here except for the delegates," Carol Jolly, executive director of the Waterfront Business Improvement Area. "It turned into a ghost town."

One cruise company had 15 corporate clients cancel on them ahead of the summit and lost a quarter of a million dollars, she said.

Businesses may be eligible for compensation under a federal government plan, and both BIAs are encouraging members to file claims, but it's not clear exactly who will be eligible. The office responsible for the fund could not be reached for comment.

The TTC also released numbers Monday on the loss of riders caused by the summit. The system saw drops of 7 per cent, 10 per cent and 17 per cent on each successive day of the G20 weekend, compared to the same weekend last year, said TTC chair Adam Giambrone.

Service was worst affected on June 26, when subway, streetcar and bus service were suspended south of Bloor Street between Parliament and Bathurst for the entire afternoon and evening.

The system brought in all its staff - including Mr. Giambrone - to direct people around the core.

"What worked very well was the communications," Mr. Giambrone said. "People were getting the message in a matter of minutes."

 

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