Montreal’s Keste pizzeria has been making waves this week after announcing that they will open their dining room “at full capacity” on January 30, despite prohibition from the provincial government’s COVID-19 restrictions.
During a January 13 press conference, Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced that schools would reopen and that the curfew would be lifted on January 17, but provided no details about the reopening of dining rooms.
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After that, Keste manager Luigi Esposito told Daily Hive that he was “tired of seeing small businesses destroyed by the pandemic” and took to Instagram to make a stance in a post that has since gone viral in the restaurant community.
View this post on Instagram
The post urges fellow “non-essential” businesses to collectively open their doors to customers on January 30 in solidarity and disobey the current health orders imposed by the government of Quebec. In the same post, Keste also promised to not scan QR codes associated with Quebec’s vaccine passport.
Esposito says he had wanted to make an announcement like this for a while but felt now was the perfect time. “I’m really fed up with seeing everyone pointing fingers at everybody and not actually discussing the real issue, which is that our hospitals are severely underfunded.”
The business owner says he is tired of his industry being the scapegoat of a “failing” health system.
“Time and time again, we have seen that it’s not us, it’s not the gyms, not the bars, and not the coffee shops that have been the issue. To keep on closing us and then keep on dishing all kinds of money to keep us open and keep us afloat, let us stay open and give all that money to the hospital so finally we can get past this whole pandemic.”
Esposito says he’s received a “mind boggling amount of support” since making this announcement, and claims he is ready for any backlash he’ll receive when he opens his doors on January 30.
“If we are faced with police and a bit of backlash, we have so much support that we’re going be able to pull through and open on that day. I think that this is definitely gonna be a little bit of a shock, but I’m very hopeful.”
Quebec’s health minister, Christian Dubé, Quebec’s health minister, reacted to Keste’s plans to reopen and urged Esposito and other business owners to hold on a little longer.
“I would just ask this restaurant owner and all other merchants to be patient. I know it’s difficult. We have put in place the measures to help them financially. ”
Since the pandemic started, restaurants in Quebec have remained closed for over 12 collective months.