Coronavirus: Montreal restaurants and bars petition to reopen

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Coronavirus outbreak: Online petition demands that Montreal restaurants and bars re-open
WATCH: Coronavirus outbreak: Online petition demands that Montreal restaurants and bars re-open – May 17, 2020

It’s still strange for Peter Sergakis to see his longtime bar, Le Manoir, completely empty.

By the bar, there are stacks of unused cutlery, while the dining area is filled with empty tables and chairs.

He compares it to something like a cemetery.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Montreal-area business owners anxious to get back to work

“We don’t want to die; we want to continue running (our) business,” he said.

Le Manoir in Pointe-Claire has been shut down for about two months. The 120 employees that work at the bar are on unemployment, and with no take out options, the business has taken a huge hit.

“It’s so sad when we have big terraces like this one and they’re empty when normally this time of the year they are full of people,” he said.

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READ MORE: Restaurants may never go back to ‘normal’ after COVID-19, experts say

With no word from the provincial government on reopening plans, Sergakis created an online petition, demanding that all bars, restaurants and terraces licensed in Quebec open by June 1st.

Kellys Orchard Pub in Pointe-Claire is a supporter of the petition.

Though the pub does have take-out options available, there’s no doubt that business is down since the start of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Canadian restaurants plan their reopenings as COVID-19 restrictions ease

“We hope that the restrictions aren’t too restrictive, in the sense that we’d only be able to use our terrace, because our terrace is small, but we can do 50 per cent capacity, or the six-foot rule,” said owner Darryl Grant.

According to a recent survey conducted by Restaurants Canada, about 70 per cent of restaurants in Quebec say they have severe cash flow issues as they work to reopen, and about 10 per cent say there is no way they’ll reopen at all.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: 2 Montreal restaurants remain open to serve communities, seniors, health-care workers

David Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada vice president, federal and Quebec, says restaurants will desperately need financial help.

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“If we could move from loans to something that would be closer to a grant, a subsidy or a loan of which one part would be forgivable, that would definitely be more help, especially as they’re building their new inventories,” said Lefebvre.

In an email to Global News, a spokesperson for Quebec’s Ministry of Health and Social Services said they understand the owners and customers of restaurants and bars who are looking forward to their reopening.

“This will be announced as soon as possible and taking into account the evolution of the situation and the possibility for these establishments to put in place the measures necessary to ensure the safety of employees and customers,” they added.

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