Typical 2020: Just as Star Wine List launched a guide to Quebec City, a lockdown hits three regions of the province: Quebec City area, Montreal area and Chaudière-Appalaches.
”Restaurant workers are really desperate and upset,” says Star Wine List’s Quebec ambassador Marie Pâris.
Can you give us some more details about the lockdown – what are the regulations right now, and is there a time frame?
”Three regions of the province are in lockdown: Montreal area, Quebec City area, and Chaudière-Appalaches. Some other regions could be in red alert later. In these zones restaurants and bars are closed, gatherings at home are forbidden and travelling through the province is not recommended. The lockdown is supposed to last until October 28th. But if things go better till then, it could end earlier - I wouldn't count on that though.”
Has there been a big increase in the number of cases lately, or is this more of a precaution?
”Yes, the number of cases is increasing. There are 1,000 new cases every day since Friday, and the number of hospitalizations should triple by the end of the month.”
It's nonsense: You can still go to a gym, shop in a mall full of people or get a haircut but you cannot have a drink in a bar.
Did this come as a surprise, or has the government been talking about a possible lockdown?
”The lockdown wasn’t expected. We knew there was a possibility of cases increasing in autumn, but we expected other measures than a lockdown.”
What is the general feeling among people in the restaurant/wine business right now?
”Restaurant workers are really desperate and upset. After all the efforts they did to keep bars and restaurants safe with new safety measures. Also, the government only closed restaurants and bars but kept open gyms, schools, beauty shops, large malls... It's nonsense: You can still go to a gym, shop in a mall full of people or get a haircut but you cannot have a drink in a bar.”
How do you think this new lockdown will affect the business?
”Most of the restaurants are doing take-out now, but this won't save all of them. About 10,000 restaurants in the province are expected to close down for good this year.”
Anything you want to add?
”Bars (about 2,000 venues in Quebec) were totally forgotten and overlooked in this crisis. In the last lockdown, they were the first to close and the last to reopen, and most of the government financial help wasn’t accessible for them. Restaurants can still sell take-out food and alcohol during the lockdown, which is not possible for bars. In the Montreal area, within six months, only one COVID-19 outbreak started in a bar.”