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Coronavirus: Montreal resto-bar owners appeal to provincial government for April 1 re-opening

Click to play video: 'Quebec bar owners put pressure on the government to allow them to reopen' Quebec bar owners put pressure on the government to allow them to reopen
WATCH: With patio season just around the corner, some bar owners want to be allowed to reopen. Their target opening date is April f1st. As Global's Tim Sargeant explains, the owners say with their business having been closed for three quarters of 2020, they need to be allowed room to recoup their losses – Mar 19, 2021

Many owners of Montreal resto-bars — restaurants with a bar inside — want the green light to invite clients back beginning April 1.

They say millions of dollars of revenues have been lost and thousands of employees have been furloughed.

“We want it now to happen, now. The next few weeks,” Peter Sergakis, an owner of 40 resto-bars in Montreal, told Global News.

Read more: City, provincial government invest in efforts to draw people back to Montreal

The entrepreneur says his business has lost millions of dollars during the coronavirus pandemic and 1,900 workers out of 2,000 furloughed.

“We’re only working with 100 employees right now,” he said. “Come on, now. Enough is enough.”

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Sergakis says its not fair that performing arts venues, such as concert halls and theatres, are allowed to re-open on March 26 but restaurant-bar businesses remain shuttered.

“We’ve got to put the life back. Everybody is getting mentally sick,” he said.

Another restaurant owner is hoping that his business can re-open soon. Alain Creton, owner of the iconic French bistro Alexandre on Peel Street, says he has a city permit to allow him to set up an outdoor terrace as of April 15th.

Now, he needs Quebec lawmakers to sign off.

“Please let us know a week before, the time we call back the staff,” he said.

Read more: Montreal’s performing arts community ready for return

The health minister wouldn’t commit to a re-opening date for bars or restaurants in Montreal.

Christian Dubé says there are a number of metrics involved to determine a timeline to allow the re-opening of eating and drinking establishments, beyond the rising vaccination numbers to inoculate people against COVID-19.

“A number of criteria or indicators (are taken) into account. Sure, vaccinations is one but it’s not the only one,” Dubé said at a Friday press conference.

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Many restaurant and bar owners just hope a decision will be made soon, especially as spring arrives with warmer temperatures.

 

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