Closing for the Holidays is the “coup de grace”

The extension of restrictions in the red zone during the holiday season will be catastrophic for restaurants and bars that relied on this period to survive the crisis.

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“For many companies, this is the last coup de grace”, launches the CEO of the Corporation of owners of bars, brasseries and taverns of Quebec, Renaud Poulin, disappointed.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Legault mentioned that the restrictions applying to restaurants, bars and gyms in the red zone would continue at least until January 11.

“People are being pushed to their limits. There are those who call us because they want to challenge the closure, it shows how serious the hour is, ”he laments, adding that such an action“ would be useless ”.

The holiday season being the most lucrative time of the year, many traders “stretched the sauce” to survive until then and hope to make a “little cushion” to face the coming months.

“There are already bankruptcies every week at the moment, it will accumulate from January,” said Mr. Poulin.

For its part, the Association Restauration Quebec (ARQ) foresees the same scenario, saying itself “immensely frustrated” that the industry is still the scapegoat for the pandemic.

The catering industry could globally reach “at most a third” of usual revenues for December.

“I’m looking for a little comfort, but we don’t have any (…) There is nothing worse than seeing your business slowly die off, when you can’t do anything except cry”, sighs François Meunier, vice-president of public and government affairs of the ARQ.

No false hopes

In Quebec City, the owners of the restaurant Le Continental, like many, expect to have to push back the opening date of their establishment once again.

“The date of January 11, we will not bet on that. When we were closed, there were about 1,000 cases per day in Quebec. After four days of family parties […], let’s say that I don’t think the spread will decrease, ”explains one of the co-owners, Mathieu Pettigrew. François Blais, owner of Bistro B on Avenue Cartier, did not expect to have to stay closed for the holidays. Now he doesn’t think he’s reopening in mid-January. “I could bet on it […] it’s just a lie. Everyone is going to be contaminated at Christmas parties, ”he believes.

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