Montreal-area restaurant, bar owners calling for COVID-19 capacity restrictions to be lifted

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Restaurant and bar owners want restrictions lifted, feel left out'
COVID-19: Restaurant and bar owners want restrictions lifted, feel left out
WATCH: On Oct. 8, all capacity restrictions are being lifted at concert halls, cinemas and sporting venues. It means the Montreal Canadiens will be able to welcome more than 21,000 fans for their home opener later in the month. But as Global’s Tim Sargeant reports, eating restrictions remain in place at restaurants and bars and some are calling it a double standard. – Oct 4, 2021

Colleen Souva is methodical about making sure all sanitary measures are followed before seating anyone at a table inside the Brasserie Manoir on rue St-Jacques in NDG.

The manager of the sports bar also verifies everyone entering to eat or drink is fully vaccinated and has an ID card.

Souva says now is the time for the government to lift COVID-19 capacity restrictions and allow more clients inside.

“It’s not fair against the business at all, and I feel like we’re being singled out. I’ve been 40 years in this business. This isn’t right,” Souva told Global News.

Montreal restaurant and bar owner Peter Sergakis agrees. He’s calling for all capacity restrictions to be lifted by Oct. 8, the same time capacity caps are being removed for concert halls, cinemas, theatres and other entertainment venues.

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Among them is the Bell Centre, which will be allowed to welcome patrons back at full capacity — 21,302 people.

“Today, we’re asking to lift the restrictions and give us the same rights as other venues, like Bell Centre,” Sergakis told Global News.

Currently, restaurants and bars are restricted to allow only up to 50 per cent of clients as set by an establishment’s liquor licence, and the businesses have to enforce one metre of distance between tables.

Sergakis complains the ongoing restrictions are hurting his bottom line.

“They never respected the restaurants and bars. They think they’re not real businesses,” he said.

Health Minister Christian Dubé says if the daily number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continue to trend down, he will ease restrictions on bars and restaurants, but only in a few weeks.

“We will gradually have some adjustments to our measures,” Dubé said at a press conference.

Those adjustments can’t come soon enough for the owners of eating and drinking establishments who’ve seen their revenues take a hit.

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“Let us breathe. You’re letting everybody else open up. Why not the bars and restaurants?” Ziggy Eichenbaum, the owner of Ziggy’s Pub told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Changes coming for large events, bars as Quebec to further ease COVID-19 restrictions'
Changes coming for large events, bars as Quebec to further ease COVID-19 restrictions

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