MONTREAL -- Montreal's restaurants have already been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and are facing an uncertain future but an economic think tank believes it has the solution.

Eateries and bars have lost out on three weeks of revenue already but the Montreal Economic Institute believes there could be a way to continue generating revenue through alcohol sales.

“We feel very strongly about this,” said Daniel Dufort, the institute's senior director of communications. “Restaurants should be able to tap into their wine inventory and sell directly to consumers at the price they want and without it being accompanied by a meal since their kitchens are often closed.

St. Henri restaurant Tuck Shop closed its doors before the government made it mandatory. Managing partner Jonathan Metcalfe said selling wine could be a good short-term solution but it isn't a long-term plan.

“Once we reopen, that's going to be a big expense to have to take on again, to rebuild a wine list when you've had zero or very low revenue,” he said.

The institute also recommended temporarily eliminating property and sales tax.

Danny Medeiros, general manager of Greenspot, a restaurant that has stayed open for delivery, said eliminating sales tax would be a big help.

“If I'm paying so much in expenses for all my food and goods and all my costs and I know I'm getting my money back, that would help me right away,” he said. “That would be easier. They have the calculations, they're right there in the books we pay ever month.”

The City of Montreal has announced loans of up to $50,000 for small and medium-sized businesses. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will also help businesses cover rent for April, May and June.