The gradual deconfinement of Quebec will take an important step in the coming days. Indoor gatherings will soon be authorized, at the same time as restaurants can resume their activities. In both cases, social distancing will prevail.
Seeing “encouraging numbers” for several days, Prime Minister Legault believes that we can now go “one step further” – to open family and friendly gatherings inside.
A bit like for outdoor gatherings, indoor ones will not be able to count more than 10 people – coming from a maximum of three homes, according to the details given later by the strategic medical advisor of the National Directorate of Public Health, Richard Massé .
Only private places – and not places of worship, for example – are covered by this new directive.
As for restaurants, it will be possible to frequent them from June 15, except in the metropolitan community of Montreal, in the MRC of Joliette and at Epiphany, where it will take another week.
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The Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) has developed a guide detailing what must be observed in restaurants.
“We leave to the good judgment of the restaurateurs the number of customers admitted inside or outside, but the physical distance of two meters between customers should be respected, said Monday the Minister of Labor and Employment, Jean Boulet. It is also recommended that shared equipment – such as tables and chairs – be disinfected ‘between the passage of each client.
Countertops and handles will also need to be cleaned “several times a day”; the menus are also encouraged to be on slate only.
For Minister Boulet, this is an “extremely comforting” announcement. His colleague André Lamontagne (Food) said that the restaurant industry represents some $ 14 billion in sales, and employs more than 200,000 people.
The Association Restauration Québec immediately welcomed the government’s decision. It “will allow many of them to finally breathe a little,” said its vice president for public and government affairs, François Meunier. But “everything that awaits restaurant operators in the coming weeks will be a huge challenge to overcome, the sanitary measures to be observed being very numerous”.
What about bars?
Monday’s announcements are leaving the entire bar sector in the dark – while Quebec intends to allow restaurant owners (through Bill 61) to serve alcohol without meals.
It will therefore be possible to have a drink on the terrace of a restaurant, but not that of a bar … “Bars, we hope to reopen them,” said François Legault on Monday. There is a difference between a bar where everyone is standing, close to each other, and a restaurant where the number of people at each table is limited. “
While welcoming the government’s decision to allow the restaurants to reopen, the New Association of Quebec Bars (NABQ) reminded Monday that “several establishments holding bar permits are in a precarious situation and with no possibility of reopening”.