"We feel betrayed": Quebec restaurateurs ask Legault for recovery plan

Oct 22 2020, 9:07 am

Quebec restaurant owners have penned an open letter to Premier François Legault, saying they feel betrayed after adjusting their dining rooms for the first wave of the pandemic, only to have to shut down again during the most recent lockdown.

The letter is signed by 40 major players in Quebec’s restaurant business, including Le Groupe Sportscene (La Cage franchises), St-Hubert, the MTY Group (Bâton Rouge, Dagwoods, Allô! Mon Coco), Normandin, and renowned French chef Jérôme Ferrer.

The letter addresses the fate of thousands of workers throughout the industry and highlights the psychological and emotional distress that service employees have been dealing with due to the pandemic’s “uncertainty.”

Restaurateurs are also claiming the right to welcome customers again, lobbying that they can offer “safe supervision” to clients while understanding and adhering to the guidelines put forth by public health.

“We are very worried about what awaits us and how the situation will unfold in the medium and long term,” says François Meunier, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs of the Association Restaurantation Quebec (ARQ). “We absolutely have to learn to live with COVID-19 and learn to socialize again.”

Meunier says restaurants are closely monitored by public health, police, and the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST).

“We can offer a much safer socializing environment than in private homes,” says Meunier, adding that restaurants have already spent “plenty of money” to adapt their spaces to public health guidelines during the first wave of coronavirus.

The letter concludes that they have “the right to know the reasons and the data” which led to all restaurant closures across Quebec and hoped they could come together for an immediate solution.

 

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