Dozens of Montreal restaurants join Joe Beef's wine selling protest

Dec 11 2020, 7:08 am

The hospitality industry has been decimated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a bevy of Quebec restaurants have taken a stance to protest the government’s restrictions.

On Thursday, David McMillan, the owner of Joe Beef and several other established Montreal restaurants, urged fellow Quebec restaurateurs to engage in the #openourcellars (#ouvreznoscaves) campaign.

In a post shared across Joe Beef’s social channels, McMillan prompted other local spots to do the same, calling it an “act of civil disobedience” to sell a bottle of wine without food to a customer — which is illegal under Quebec’s Bill 170 law.

In June 2018, Quebec’s National Assembly loosened legislation and said they would allow restaurants in Quebec to serve alcohol without food, saying the act needed to be “modernized.” At the time, the ARQ (Association des restaurateurs du Québec) announced that the previously enforced Bill 170 laws were “from another era.”

Under the new legislation, customers could consume alcohol without needing to order food.

Fast forward to a couple of years and a pandemic later, Bill 170 has yet to be put into practice throughout Quebec, becoming a painful addition across the province’s second lockdown, in an industry already in need of any type of support.

McMillan’s campaign gained plenty of traction throughout the day on Thursday as dozens of Montreal-area restaurants lobbied for change against the government, specifically Premier François Legault.

“Today I encourage all my colleagues who own restaurants in the province of Québec to sell a bottle of wine without food to a customer as an act of civil disobedience to show our displeasure with the inaction of the Legault CAQ Government’s reforms to our restaurants permit[s] in these extraordinary circumstances,” reads Joe Beef’s Thursday afternoon post. “Take a picture and post it to your social network #openourcellars.”

 

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A post shared by David Hayfield McMillan (@joebeefmtl)

The virtual protest was initiated a day after the province’s director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, told the National Assembly that his department did not initially recommend the government to shut down Quebec restaurants in an effort to limit the transmission of the virus.

In a French tweet on Thursday afternoon, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said the restaurant crisis “worried her” while highlighting the city’s world-renowned food scene. “We must do everything to support them so they can shine when this is behind us.”

Here’s some of the outpour of local spots that took part in the virtual movement, both in English and French.

 

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A post shared by Elena (@elenamontreal)

 

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A post shared by Vin Papillon (@vinpapillon)

 

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A post shared by Derek Dammann (@maisonpublique)

 

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A post shared by Satay Brothers (@sataybrothers)

 

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A post shared by Arthurs (@arthursmtl)

 

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A post shared by Foxy (@foxymtl)

 

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A post shared by Restaurants HÀ (@harestaurantha)

 

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A post shared by super loco (@lesuperloco)

 

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A post shared by Impastomtl (@impastomtl)

 

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A post shared by le butterblume (@lebutterblume_mtl)

 

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A post shared by fabriziocovone (@fabriziocovone)

 

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A post shared by @caffeunpodipiu (@caffeunpodipiu)

 

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A post shared by September (@september_surf)

 

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A post shared by Monkland Tavern (@monklandtaverne)

 

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A post shared by Tacos Victor (@tacos_victor)

 

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A post shared by Pizzeria GEMA (@pizzeriagema)

 

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A post shared by Nordik Café (@nordikcafe)

 

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A post shared by MANITOBA (@restaurantmanitoba)

 

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A post shared by La Parizza (@laparizza337)

 

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A post shared by Beau Temps (@beautempsmontreal)

 

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A post shared by Le Réservoir (@brasserie_reservoir)

 

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A post shared by La Belle Tonki (@labelletonki)

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