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How Montrealers Can Help Local Restaurants and Bars Affected By Closures

Buy merch, buy gift cards, or donate to a fund to help employeees

Merch from café Paquebot and roaster Zab

With the spread of the novel coronavirus, many Montreal restaurants have switched exclusively to take out and delivery services, while others have made the difficult decision to close indefinitely. On orders from the Quebec government, bars and clubs are required to shut down, and restaurants staying open have been asked to operate at 50 percent capacity.

These prolonged closures put a lot of these establishments at major risk of shutting down permanently, given that they have few ways to make money at present. Employees are already feeling the pinch — scores of them are without work, and in need of support.

Here are a few ways to help restaurants and their staff:

  • Give directly to workers. A relief fund for the most in-need restaurant, bar, and café workers is in the process of being set-up and should be open for donations in the near future. In the meantime, if you know people who are forcibly out of work, ask them if they need assistance — it’s also likely that workers or even entire restaurants may begin crowdsourcing via sites like GoFundMe in the near future.
  • Get take-out or delivery. While many are closed, some restaurants are still open with special menus for you to eat at home, while keeping your social distance. If you can, order directly from restaurants over the phone, and not via third-party apps that may charge fees to the restaurants. While some restaurant dining rooms are also open, eating in may not be the best idea in times of social distancing.
  • Buy merch and gift cards. Branded merchandise and gift cards are now a lifeline for these businesses, and in some cases, they’re the sole remaining stream of income. There may never be a better time to sport your favourite restaurant’s logo on a tote bag, travel mug, t-shirt, toque, or baseball cap. Or to crack open a cookbook and work in some shiny new kitchen gear. But keep in mind that delivery may be slower than usual due to the circumstances.

Below is a list of the establishments that sell merch online, plus a couple that may start selling soon. To keep the list concise, we haven’t included restaurants that offer gift cards, but most places do; cards for some popular independent Montreal restaurants can be found online at websites like Brunette or Treater. Even if your favourite spot doesn’t advertise gift cards, ask: they’ll probably custom-make one for you.

Note that this list is non-exhaustive. If your favourite venue sells merch, let us know and we’ll add them.