Letter calls on premier to re-evaluate the situation and let restaurants open
MONTREAL -- Mr. Premier François Legault,
The current pandemic is far from over, and you have – with reason – reminded the population that we would have to learn to live with certain sanitary measures for many months to come.
However, we join forces today to share with you situations that directly affect our industry – the restaurant industry – and that we may no longer allow to go unnoticed.
On October 1st, a number of regions became red zones for a period of 28 days. These 28 days are coming to an end, and we are still in the dark as to the way ahead.
We write to you today to share the many concerns we have, and demand to know exactly what to expect from this temporary closure, which is beginning to resemble another lockdown.
Our first concern is for the workers who are directly or indirectly employed in our restaurants, mainly young people.
As of today, in red as well as in orange zones across the province, these employees are without work.
Closing dining rooms has had an enormous impact on the mental health of our employees and managers who are, in (too) many cases, exhausted, anxious, practically without resources and can no longer see any light at the end of the tunnel, since no date has been set for a re-opening.
We understand that the closure of our dining rooms was done in an effort to restrict socialization, but we are beginning to notice a growing need for even minimal social contact as people strive to preserve their mental health.
Our establishments offer a safe environment not only for our employees but for consumers as well.
Thanks to the rigorous implementation of sanitary guidelines, not a single outbreak has been reported.
Hence, we believe we can offer this space to consumers who can use it to fulfill a basic need (nourishment) as well as that of socialization in a controlled setting.
We ask why would Quebec not model itself on the Scandinavian countries, on France, on Italy, on Spain and others who have kept their dining rooms open, despite the second wave, on the basis that – and with proof in hand – they were not sources of outbreaks and that they contributed to maintaining social and economic stability? Restaurant owners and their employees, along with industry suppliers – who together represent several hundred thousand Quebecers – have made enormous sacrifices during the first lockdown.
Despite being without income for months, it is by coming together, standing side-by-side and supporting each other, that they invested time, money, energy and willpower in order to re-open and offer consumers a safe environment that answers to all required sanitary guidelines.
We believe the industry deserves to know the motives and data that justifies the closures so we can better our procedures, avoid future restrictions and be a part of the solution.
It is also the supply chain as a whole (production, transformation, transport, operations, etc.) that has had to adapt and that now finds itself, hands tied, facing a wall.
This is without mentioning the impact on businesses that have been allowed to remain open – hotels and spas, for example – but that cannot operate their dining rooms and are hence forced to either close entirely or absorb losses that will be difficult, if not impossible, to recuperate.
We are all extremely conscious of the seriousness of this pandemic that has been affecting our world for over seven months now, and of the dangers it represents for all people.
We wish now to share our concern over its psychological and economic aspects, which will also undoubtedly have lasting impacts on the health of our workers and customers.
As a father, a leader, a businessman and as premier, we are convinced that you share our concerns. This is why we ask that you quickly re-evaluate the current situation of the restaurant industry and allow the reopening of dining rooms across the province.
We are, and have always been, ready to collaborate with you in order to ensure a safe reopening and the adherence to all sanitary guidelines.
- Jean Bedard, Groupe Sportscene
- Claudine Roy, Assocation Restauration Quebec
- Richard Scofield, Groupe St-Hubert
- Eric Lefebvre, Groupe d'Alimentation MTY
- Norbert Gagnon, Restaurants Normandin
- Peter Mammas, Foodtastic
- Alain Mailhot, Association Restauration Quebec
- Devid B. Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada
- Jerome Ferrer, Resaurant Jereome Ferrere par Europea
- Christiane Germain, Germain Hotels
- Carlos Ferreira, Groupe Ferreira
- Alain April, Le Bonne Entente
- Richard Senechal, Service alimentaire Gordon/Province de Quebec
- Francois Nolin, Archibald microbrasseries
- Louis McNeil, Restaurants Cosmos
- Mathieu Dumulong, Groupe Colabor
- Marie Letourneau, Resto Delice
- Bernard Duchesne, Top Glaciers
- Pierre Pouliot, J.G. Fruits et Legumes - Saveur Ultime
- Pierre Moreau, Groupe Restos Plaisirs
- Michel Jasmin, Inform brokage
- Hugues Philippin, Chic Alors
- Michel Moreau, La Tyrolienne
- Jacques Talbot, Association des restaurateurs Q.S.P.
- Hugues Borque, Groupe Zibo
- Nicolas Filiatrault, Benny & Co.
- Pierre-Marc Tremblay, Pacini
- Guy Larivee, Hector Larivee
- Pierre Bayard, Dubord & Rainville inc.
- Rene Proulx, Exceldor
- Richard Davis, Olymel
- Jean-Guy Prevost, Fut Ideal
- Pierre Demers, Bridor
- Stephane Petit, Les vergers Petit et Fils
- Mira Natal, Vins Arterra Canada
- Flavio Corneli, Cuisine Alimentra Foods
- Sylvie Cloutier, Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Quebec (CTAQ)
- Patrice Leger-Bourgoin, Association des brasseurs du Quebec
- Remi St-Arneault, Michel St-Arneault
- Philippe Gadoua, Les Aliments Mejicano