Looser restrictions boosted restaurant and bar sales in February, the Alberta Treasury Branch reports.
Although still down compared to before the pandemic, seasonally adjusted restaurant and bar sales in Alberta jumped by 15 per cent in February.
The increase coincided with changes to provincial public health restrictions that allowed restaurants, cafés and pubs to reopen for dine-in service on Feb. 8, with some conditions.
Total sales reached $594.1 million in February, but this was $235.2 million (28 per cent) below sales 12 months earlier.
Bars saw their unadjusted sales increase by 238 per cent in February. Sales were, however, still down by 62 per cent compared to February 2020.
Sales at full-service restaurants improved by 57 per cent compared to January, but remained 42 per cent below where they were in February 2020.
Sales at “limited-service eating places” such as coffee shops and fast-food restaurants slipped by eight per cent in February and were off by 14 per cent on a year-over-year basis.
A third wave of COVID-19 led the province to reintroduce the prohibition against indoor in-person service as of April 9.
Nationally, restaurant and bar sales rose by seven per cent in February compared to January, but were down by 32 per cent compared to 12 months earlier. Year-over-year sales were down the most in Quebec at 39 per cent.