Hotel operators in Quebec say the provincial government’s plan to reopen from COVID-19 lockdowns is bitter-sweet.
“The fact that the restaurants will reopen will allow people to start travelling for leisure, going to different regions and be able to travel on business,” Dany Thibault, president of the Quebec Hotel Association told Global News.
But he’s wondering when hotels can once again start to host events, like business meetings.
“If you look at the fall, we were able to fill up or to gain back what we had lost from the previous months over 2019 due to the meetings that were happening in the different hotels,” he pointed out.
Thibault’s questioning Premier Francois Legault’s plan announced Tuesday, which states restaurants, cinemas and places of worship will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity.
Thibault argues that hotel meeting rooms should be allowed to reopen too because workers now know how to do it safely.
Other business sectors are also furious at the government’s reopening plan.
“We are almost crying to find out that they didn’t let us open the regular bar,” said Peter Sergakis, bar owner and president of the Quebec Union of Bar Owners.
He says bar owners are able to apply the same measures that restaurants can to make things safe.
Sergakis conceded that there are risks at clubs where there is dancing, or even karaoke bars where there have been outbreaks, but some bars are safe for customers, he said.
Medical professionals like Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist at the Montreal University Health Centre (MUHC), also have concerns about Legault’s reopening plan and want more transparency.
“What’s not clear to me regarding yesterday’s announcement,” he said, “is what are the measures, what are the metrics that the government is using to make this decision, and what are the metrics that are incorporated in the plan to determine if the current decision needs to be changed?”
Critics want greater clarity so that they can start planning for other phases of the reopening plan.