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COVID-19: Quebec bars and restaurants push to reopen to fully-vaccinated public

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COVID-19: Quebec bars and restaurants push to reopen to fully vaccinated public
WATCH: Renewed calls are being made to reopen bars and restaurants in Quebec to fully vaccinated clients. Bar and restaurant owners say one way to do that is to make proof of vaccination required to access all non-essential businesses, including retail shops. Phil Carpenter reports – Jan 5, 2022

Restaurateaur Peter Sergakis is not happy.

He’s angry that for the third time since the pandemic, restaurants and bars were forced to close when the Quebec government imposed new COVID-19 restrictions in December.

Sergakis, who’s also president of the Quebec Union of Bar Owners, blames the measures, as well as the current surging COVID cases in hospitals, on people who did not get vaccinated against the virus.

“Fifteen, 20 per cent of the population cannot take hostage the entire province,” he said.

Read more: Restaurants, rights groups denounce Quebec curfew, experts say it’s necessary

His union as well as the Corporation des Propriétaires de Bars, Brasseries et Tavernes du Québec have written a letter to the Quebec government asking to extend the application of the vaccine passport to include services not currently requiring them.

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“Shopping centres, stores, any kind of stores, grocery stores, everywhere,” Sergakis told Global News.

He believes doing so will force even more people to get vaccinated, thus making it safer to reopen bars and restaurants.

The Conseil du Patronat du Québec agrees more restrictions should be placed on the unvaccinated, but president and CEO Karl Blackburn thinks expanding the application of a vaccine passport will simply put pressure on more employees to act as police.

Read more: Quebec curfew to start at 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve as province reports over 16,460 COVID cases, 13 deaths

He wants the government to go even further.

“The best way to get out of this pandemic is to have mandatory vaccination made by governments, here in Quebec and in Canada,” he argued.

Many scenarios are now being considered by governments to increase restrictions for the unvaccinated.

However, Richard Taitt, co-owner of Bistro Nolah in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, pointed out that expanding the application of the vaccine passport doesn’t mean opening restaurants and bars right away is a good idea, given how easily the Omicron variant spreads.

“That subjects staff working in those environments and people dining with other people to the possibility of catching this thing,” he said.

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One thing all three agree on, though, is that restaurants are in trouble and need help.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Quebec reserves PCR testing to high-risk groups'
COVID-19: Quebec reserves PCR testing to high-risk groups

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