Montreal's Anticafe reopens after cops shut it down saying they weren't following COVID-19 guidelines
MONTREAL -- Anticafe Montreal, the co-working space where you pay for the time and not the coffee, has reopened after being forced to shut down by the police for not following public health guidelines put in place due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to manager Lisa Miller, Montreal police (SPVM) officers came in last week while clients and staff were there and told them to close.
"They didn't even look around to see how we work," she said. "They just told us from the entry that we have to close immediately in 10 minutes."
Later, Anticafe sought out legal advice on the matter.
Staff say Anticafe's primary role is to provide a co-working space, and its permit describes it as an office that should be allowed to operate even when Montreal is in the red zone.
"We do not sell food, we do not sell drinks, we do not sell anything other than time. People pay for time only," said owner Filipp Miller.
In a statement, the SPVM said officers showed up on Oct. 22 and issued a statement of offence for not following sanitary measures.
Filipp Miller said, however, the police didn't provide any report or documents to staff.
Lawyer Jamie Benizri argues the space can reopen.
“In the absence of any documents to the contrary Christina Muccari, my colleague and I, felt comfortable telling them you can reopen. Make sure you're respecting the rules,” said, Benizri.
Quebec's workplace safety board couldn't comment on this specific case, but said even in red zones, co-working businesses are allowed to operate as long as they follow public health guidelines.
"We think we're doing the right thing," said Filipp Miller. "We think we have a right to operate. People of Montreal need us to be open."