COVID-19: Montreal restaurants, bars look ahead to reopening date with mixed emotions

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Montreal bar and restaurant owners breathe a sigh of relief' COVID-19: Montreal bar and restaurant owners breathe a sigh of relief
WATCH: Montreal restaurants and bars have been waiting more than seven months to open their doors to welcome patrons. On May 28, terraces in Quebec will be allowed to open for outdoor dining. As Global's Olivia O'Malley explains, while most bar and restaurant owners are anxious to reopen, others say they may have to wait a bit longer. – May 19, 2021

The Quebec government confirmed Tuesday evening that restaurants and bars will be able to open outdoor terraces on May 28 and June 11, respectively, even in the province’s red zones.

“After the speech of the premier, people were already asking, ‘Can we have our table?'” said the owner of Ziggy’s pub, Ziggy Eichenbaum.

On Wednesday, the owner of the downtown watering hole was wiping down his outdoor tables and chairs in preparation for his pubs reopening on June 11.

For many bars like Eichenbaum’s that have been closed the past seven months, the government’s reopening plan is a lifeline.

“I’m preparing everything. I’m very, very excited,” he told Global News.

Read more: Quebec to do away with curfew as province unveils COVID-19 reopening plan

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By the time outdoor terraces are allowed to reopen, the Burgundy Lion’s courtyard will be ready to serve and celebrate.

“Eight a.m. pints and breakfast. This — I’m dead serious. Like, it sounds like I’m joking, but I’m not. The Lion will have its terrace ready and we will be open at 8:00 a.m., pints and breakfast,” said the restaurant’s owner, Paul Desbaillets.

However, not all restaurants will be welcoming customers right away. Italian eatery, Rita in Verdun, is one establishment without a re-opening date.

“It’s great news that things are starting to happen; there’s some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, the tunnel is still very long from where we would like to be,” said owner Joseph D’alleva.

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The restaurant located on Wellington Street still needs to build it’s outdoor dining space, which D’alleva said will cost a pretty penny this year.

“Our terrace will probably cost 30 per cent more than it would in the last year because of wood and other shortages and just high demand.”

D’alleva is also in the process of hiring new staff. The restaurant operated it’s take out using a small crew during the pandemic, about 16 employees were let go.

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“For us its a big gamble that we’re going to be playing because do we hire everybody right now, do we hire people a bit later.”

Ahead of the opening of terraces, restaurateurs want to remind customers who are ready to dine to be patient and kind as they do their best to serve clients for the first time in months.

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