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Pride 2021: Montreal bar owners in The Village hope for ease of COVID-19 restrictions

Click to play video: 'Pride 2021: Montreal bar owners in The Gay Village hope for ease of COVID-19 restrictions' Pride 2021: Montreal bar owners in The Gay Village hope for ease of COVID-19 restrictions
WATCH: Anyone in Montreal will tell you Pride Week is the Village’s Grand Prix. Thousands of people from every corner flock to the area to party, bar hop and, of course, attend the parade. But as Global's Elizabeth Zogalis reports, the pandemic has cast a different light on the area – Jul 25, 2021

Anyone in Montreal will tell you Pride Week is the Village’s Grand Prix.

Thousands of people from every corner flock to the area to party, bar hop and, of course, attend the parade.

It’s when the village shines.

Read more: Montreal Pride to celebrate diversity of LGBTQ2 community with 11-day festival

But, the pandemic has cast a different light on the area. Lingering sanitary restrictions and a lack of tourists haven’t been kind.

“We do a lot of money with the Americans so you know, we’re optimistic but we still need more ease on the restrictions,” says Salem Nefzaoui, the owner of Mon Osti de Resto on Ste. Catherine St. East.

Like many other bar and restaurant owners in the area, Nefzaoui is hoping to see an ease of sanitary restrictions for pride week.

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“We’ve been closed for over a year, the restaurant and bars are kind of suffering,” said Nefzaoui.

Click to play video: 'Pride parade takes over Montreal' Pride parade takes over Montreal
Pride parade takes over Montreal – Aug 18, 2019

Pride Week kicks off on August 9, the same day Americans will be allowed to cross the border into Canada for non-essential travel.

“The tourists aren’t going to be able to celebrate and enjoy their vacation, so definitely [restaurants] are right,” says Quebec Bar Owners Union President Peter Sergakis, who agrees with restaurant and bar owners asking for an ease of restrictions.

“I’m happy that they are asking the government to let us open.”

Currently, bars are at 50 per cent capacity and alcohol can only be served until midnight, which some say needs to change, especially leading up to the Pride Parade on August 15.

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“It’s the most important thing for the village on a yearly basis. The most important. Tourists coming from everywhere,” adds Sergakis.

The Health Ministry did not respond to Global’s request for comment but several health experts say with the threat of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, people will need to be patient when it comes to a full easing of sanitary measures.

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