It’s been a devastating year for Montreal bar and restaurant operators as the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered many businesses and it’s still unclear when the establishments in Montreal can reopen.
Now, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is coming to their defence tweeting several times that the outdoor terraces and patios of bars and restaurants should be allowed to reopen by June 1.
“It’s always positive news to hear that anybody in any form of government is excited about getting small businesses back up and running,” Paul Desbaillets, co-owner of Burgundy Lion, told Global News.
His bar and restaurant is currently only open for take-out and delivery. He says allowing outdoor dining makes sense.
“You want to be open as fast as possible for the summer to be able to utilize the beauty the summer offers,” he said.
It’s the same for the co-owner of the Sir Winston Churchill Pub, which has been in business for more than half a century on Crescent Street.
Jan Wilson says the reopening of terraces and patios is critical for the relaunch of her business and staff who’ve been furloughed.
“We could give some employees their jobs back. And maybe pay some of our city taxes,” the co-owner told Global News.
Mayor Plante says as COVID-19 infections stabilize and the number of vaccines doses accelerates, now is the time to authorize the reopening of outdoor dining.
“It would be great to give an indication to restaurants and bars that they can open up their terraces,” Plante said during a Thursday press conference.
But Premier François Legault says Montreal is still a red zone and health officials aren’t ready to give restaurants the green light to reopen their patios.
“Right now public health is telling us that there is a risk associated with restaurants,” Legault said.
Owners and operators just hope it will happen soon, so they have a chance to get their balance sheets back in the black.