Patios in Montreal could open by June 1 if public health gives the OK, mayor says
MONTREAL -- Montrealers could be weeks away from clinking glasses on a sunny patio and ordering food that doesn’t come in a box.
Offering a glimmer of hope to residents who’ve been anxious for some social activity this spring, Mayor Valerie Plante said the city’s terrasses could open by June, "if public health permits."
The mayor said that the reopening of patios, if allowed, would have to be done safely with a reduced capacity and with public health measures in place.
"Restaurants will tell us a lot of predictability so this is what I'm working toward," Plante said at a news conference on Thursday.
She said part of the considerations on making the reopening a reality is the number of cases on the island and how well the vaccination campaign has been progressing.
"If it stays that way, I think it would be great to give an indication to restaurants and bars that they can open up their terrasses. I think it would be fantastic for them. They need that type of support. Again, of course, we'll be following the rules."
Plante said she will announce details Friday of an economic support plan for the bar and restaurant industry as well more details of the reopening plans.
Quebe'c health minsiter Christian Dube commented on the mayor's plans, saying he realizes people are anxious to meet friends again on terrasses, but urged everyone to err on the side of caution.
"With the commitments that we're making I think people understand that we are fed up of being indoors, we are interested with terraces to open. We are conscious of this, but I want to remain prudent," he said.
"And I say this to all politicians: please just wait until we have our recovery plan in place."
Discussions of a possible reopening of terrasses in June will be music to the ears of restaurateurs who have been demanding more clarity around when they can welcome customers into their dining rooms again and announced they will start a "symbolic" reopening on Saturday. The move includes having employees stand outside restaurants offering gift certificates to passersby and "many other surprises."
The initiative will take place from 12 to 2 p.m. at Chez Alexandre, Chez Lévesque, Les Enfants Terribles, Joe Beef, Montreal Plaza, Le Mousso, Stogies, Chez Luigi, Pied de Cochon, Homard Fou, Jardin Nelson, Europea and other establishments.
Earlier this week, Quebec Premier François Legault noted there may soon be some allowances given to restaurants and bars if COVID-19 numbers across the province continue to improve.
"We hope that in the next few weeks [we'll bring] many zones to orange so that we can open restaurants in May," he said.