Restaurants offer “phony reopening”

Restaurant owners organized a symbolic reopening in Montreal on Saturday, trying to remind customers and politicians what the experience of going to restaurants looks like after 14 months of the health crisis.


Christopher Reynolds
The Canadian Press

The fake reopening – no food served on site – came after Quebec bar owners recently asked the government to allow them to open their doors to patrons who had received at least one dose of the vaccine against COVID-19.

“The aim is to make the government aware that we will ultimately die if our lockdown continues,” said Pierre Levic, owner of Chez Lévêque in Outremont, of the bogus reopening.

This ‘Parisian brasserie’ was established in 1972 and employed up to 50 people before it closed its doors on March 17th, 2020.

Sous vide meals such as coq au vin and bœuf bourguignon decorate the chalkboard menu above a row of tables covered in white linens. In a display case, Chardonnay and Shiraz flasks are framed by a vase overflowing with cork and topped with pears and plastic peppers.

“People can come and visit us like an old work of art, because people almost tend to forget what it’s like to enter a restaurant,” said manager Yan Nankko.

“At this rate, we could roughly say to people, ‘Listen, this was a table. People would come and sit. ”

Two associations representing bar owners wrote to Prime Minister Francois Legault, in a letter dated April 29th, requesting that bars and restaurants across Quebec be allowed to reopen now, but only to make them available to people who have been vaccinated.

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Montreal Mayor Valerie Blunt on Thursday asked the county government to open the terraces of restaurants and bars at 1he is June. But Health Minister Christian Dube told reporters that politicians campaigning should be careful in their commitments.

Francois Legault said Quebec will unveil a roadmap for reopening within a few weeks.

The health situation in Quebec remains relatively stable, with the number of new cases of COVID-19 remaining below 1,000 and hospitalizations declining.

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