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COVID-19: Quebec hotel, bar industries wonder when their turn will come

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Quebec hotel, bar industries wonder when their turn will come' COVID-19: Quebec hotel, bar industries wonder when their turn will come
WATCH: Many in the business communities are questioning the Quebec the government's reopening plan announced Tuesday. – Jan 26, 2022

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.

Read more: Quebec announces slow reopening from COVID-19 restrictions, gyms, bars not included

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.

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Thibault argues that hotel meeting rooms should be allowed to reopen too because workers now know how to do it safely.

Click to play video: 'Quebec to lift some COVID-19 restrictions, partially reopening dining rooms and allowing private gatherings' Quebec to lift some COVID-19 restrictions, partially reopening dining rooms and allowing private gatherings
Quebec to lift some COVID-19 restrictions, partially reopening dining rooms and allowing private gatherings – Jan 25, 2022

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.

“[Clients] have a little bit of food, they have a drink, they have some wine and they talk and they have fun,” he told Global News. “Those places are the same as a restaurant.”
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Read more: COVID-19: Officials monitoring BA.2 Omicron subvariant in Canada

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.

Click to play video: 'Quebec opposition parties share health-care priorities' Quebec opposition parties share health-care priorities
Quebec opposition parties share health-care priorities – Jan 26, 2022

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