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Coronavirus: Montreal-based contact tracing website aims to help service industry

Click to play video: 'Montreal-based contact-tracing website aims to give a boost to service industry' Montreal-based contact-tracing website aims to give a boost to service industry
WATCH: Quebec's service industry is still struggling to bounce back after being allowed to reopen amid the COVID-19 crisis. Bars and restaurants have been especially hard hit with limitations on the number of patrons they can serve. As Global’sAmanda Jelowicki reports, a Montreal-based contact tracing website is hoping to give the industry a bit of a boost. – Jul 24, 2020

A Montreal research and marketing firm is hoping a new contact tracing website will help re-establish trust between patrons and bars and restaurants amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The firm just launched the website, http://www.juststayopen.com. It’s a free website open to any bar or restaurant in Quebec. Bars or restaurants can register their establishment online.

Then, when a patron is going to an establishment that is registered, they can also register that they attended that day. Lanla keeps the patron’s personal information, for privacy reasons. If a restaurant discovers a COVID-19 outbreak, it contacts Lanla, who then goes through its own registry of individuals.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Richard Zeidel, a partner at Lanla. “There is no silver bullet. But everyone is concerned about safety and contact tracing and this is just another tool.”

The website launched this week. Zeidel says Lanla has worked with the service industry for 15 years and wanted to try and give it a helping hand as restaurants and bars continue to struggle during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: New COVID-19 app for notifying user versus contact tracing, says Hajdu' Coronavirus: New COVID-19 app for notifying user versus contact tracing, says Hajdu
Coronavirus: New COVID-19 app for notifying user versus contact tracing, says Hajdu – Jul 24, 2020

“It’s directly in line with public health recommendations. While it’s not mandatory, it’s just a common-sense approach to helping manage the safety of employees and customers,” said Zeidel. “It’s left up to individuals if they want to go to a restaurant or bar. But should you want to visit, it’s important to know there are additional safety precautions in place.”

It comes at a time when the service industry is still struggling, and several hundred young people in Quebec tested positive for COVID-19 after attending house parties and going to bars.

Charles Landry, the president of Quebec’s Bar and Tavern Owners Association, says he’s hoping the website will help re-establish trust in patrons.

“We are happy to be open but at the same time the business is way lower,” Landry said. “It’s just one more tool that people can rely on and have some trust in the bar.”

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The St-Hubert chain registered all of its 114 Quebec restaurants with the website.

“We don’t want to close again, that would be very bad for the industry,” said Josee Vaillancourt, the director of communications for Groupe St. Hubert. “So all means we can use to ensure we stay healthy, the customer, the employees, I think it’s a really good measure.”

So far several hundred restaurants have already registered with the website.

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