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Dining rooms reopen | Restaurants want a date

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Pressure is mounting on Legault’s government to quickly give the green light to reopen dining rooms. In a letter addressed to the Minister of Health, Christian Dube called on restaurant owners and businessmen to resume activities as soon as possible.

Posted at 7:00 am

Nathael Morissette

Nathael Morissette

“We, that’s what we’re looking for: a quick announcement, with an appointment,” says Martin Visina, director of public and government affairs for the Association of Restoration Québec (ARQ). Vesina did not fail to recall the relaxations announced in Ontario on Thursday that will allow restaurant owners to resume their activities on January 31.

If he counts on February 8 to let his members get ready to welcome customers on lucrative Valentine’s Day, Mr. Visina assures he won’t “rip his shirt off” if Quebec allows you to open it before that date.

“Following the same logic under which you are legitimizing the reopening of schools and after announcing the upcoming opening of dining rooms in Ontario, we ask that you announce the reopening of restaurant dining rooms as soon as possible,” we can read in a letter sent Thursday to Minister Dubey. , that Journalism He was able to consult. It was signed by representatives from ARQ, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and the Association of Business Development Companies of Montreal (ASDCM) as well as two food distributors, Colabor and Gordon.

The letter states that only 14% of businesses in the country’s accommodation and restaurant sector have “returned to their normal income”. We also write: “The average debt for a restaurant with a dining room in Quebec is $206,944.”

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The signatories, who are not skeptical about reopening schools, question why dining rooms, which have implemented strict sanitary measures, are still unable to accommodate customers. “In the classroom, students wear their masks, but eat snacks, and take off their masks, as evidenced in an interview with François Vincent, Vice President of Quebec at CFIB. During lunchtime, hundreds of students will be in gyms at the same time, with a vaccination rate lower than The general population. But we can’t open restaurants with family bubbles. Why? He wonders. These are legitimate questions that must be answered.”

“We have to learn to live with the ubiquitous Omicron,” Michel LeBlanc, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Montreal Chamber of Commerce, wrote on Twitter Thursday. “Even if our health system is fragile, we should be able, as in Ontario, to plan and announce the reopening of restaurants, performance halls, and gyms for vaccinated people.”

Civil disobedience

Meanwhile, a movement of restaurateurs is forming to defy the rules and open their doors on January 30. A pastry chef from Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean who made her so tired of loud and clear in the media even gave her clients access to her dining room on Thursdays and Fridays.

“I would strongly advise against participating in this movement,” says Mr. Vizina. “I understand the state of mind of owners who have no predictability based on this gesture. But there are consequences for operators who are involved in this, he warns. There are fines, there are possibilities for liquor licensing to be suspended, and if people get help from the county government, it’s indicated in the contract. To that in the event of a violation of public health law, the provincial municipality (MRC) that administers the program can claim the paid assistance. »

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The dining rooms have been closed since December 31.

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