COVID-19’s community impact: One pizza store’s sales sliced by 40 per cent

Pizza Nova located at Ritson Road North in Oshawa.

An Oshawa pizza shop has seen its sales decrease by about 40 per cent due to COVID-19.

And the lack of Durham College (DC) and Ontario Tech University students on campus is one of the reasons sales are down.

Shikhar Bhugra, an employee of Pizza Nova at 1288 Ritson Rd. N. for the last three years, says the eatery had to reduce its hours due to the coronavirus. It has also been hurt due to the lack of students in the city brought on by the campus closure at DC and Ontario Tech.

Bhugra says 30 to 40 per cent of their sales are from students, contributing to the overall decline.

“Due to COVID-19, our business has slowed down as the number of customers are less and the store doesn’t provide dine-in service due to COVID-19, and people are avoiding getting out from their home,” Bhugra says.

Working hours for employees have been reduced by 10 hours per week, Bhugra says. Employees who used to work 40 hours per week are getting 30 hours a week as store hours are reduced.

Before COVID-19, the Pizza Nova location was open until 2 a.m., but now people are not able to order food after 10 p.m., according to Bhugra.

They have 15 workers altogether, five part-time, the remainder full-time. They didn’t lay any people off as they manage hours for every worker fairly, Bhugra says.

The store is also adhering to all COVID-19 cleaning protocols, he says.

“We don’t have to take any extra measures, because we have been already taking measures prior and have a habit of cleaning and making sure that utensils, crockery and everything we are using are clean and sanitized.”

Bhugra asks all customers to maintain social distancing and wear masks.

“If they take care of themselves, we will be able to take care of ourselves, and this way we can help each other to stay safe,” he says.