Making reservations to go to the bar? Montreal bar owners say no thanks
MONTREAL -- In the city closest to Montreal, an idea is being floated that some Montrealers really don’t want to catch on here.
Ottawa Public Health is contemplating making reservations mandatory for bars. It would limit lineups outside and crowds inside, say Ottawa authorities.
More importantly, it would help with contact tracing, they say. And is a bar really so different from a restaurant?
Montreal bar owners say yes, they are different. Even after repeated bar-related COVID-19 outbreaks in this city, local bar owners say reservations aren’t a good idea.
Crowds aren’t really their problem—business is hard enough already, they say.
“We don't have the college kids, we don't have tourists in town,” says Ziggy Eichenbaum of Ziggy’s Pub.
“Everybody is lucky if they get 25 per cent of the clients that they had.”
Reservations would change bar culture too much, said another bar owner.
“I mean, who wants to reserve to go to a bar?” said Peter Sergakis. “Maybe 25 per cent of the people will reserve, but… if it's an obligation, they're going to say 'To hell with it, we're not going there.’”
Cardiologist Christopher Labos says COVID-19 calls for desperate measures, and that controlling the number of visitors to an establishment is more important than ever.
“When you're on a sidewalk there's not that much space,” he said. “There's also pedestrians coming by you, so anything that can prevent people from bunching up.”
Eichenbaum said one of Quebec’s current rules for bars should help with contact tracing.
“We have a book that everybody signs in,” he said. “So what's the difference if they call or they come in and sign in?”
However, earlier this month Montreal public health authorities said they were finding contact tracing so difficult around COVID-19 cases linked to bars that they asked all residents who had been to any bar to get tested.
Quebec public health authorities told CTV News they don’t have a plan to implement a reservation policy.