The Quebec government has ordered all restaurants in the province to close their doors until at least May 1, only restaurants offering take-out or delivery service allowed to remain open.
This measure from Francois Legault’s government, announced on Sunday, aims to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 by restricting access to locations where people might socialize and linger.
While Legault announced further restrictions on public life on Monday afterrnoon, stating that he would put the province “on pause” until mid-April, it appears that the government will permit restaurants offering take-out to remain open.
Until Sunday (March 22), restaurants in Quebec were allowed to open their dining rooms as long as they were no more than 50 percent full (although a substantial number of restaurants voluntarily closed down their dining rooms as much as a week before this new order from the government).
The new order from the provincial government also gives a new timeline for when restaurants, bars, and other social spaces might be permitted to return to business. While bars, clubs, music venues, and other entertainment spaces were required to close for business about a week ago, no indication was given as to whether the closures would be for a matter of days, weeks, or months. In addition to closing restaurants and many retail stores, the new order also requires already-closed establishments (like bars) to stay shut until May 1.
The new rules also apply to shopping malls — only essential businesses like supermarkets and pharmacies in malls will be allowed to open over the coming weeks, meaning that food courts will likely be closed down (even for take-out purposes).
Some restaurants that voluntarily shut down last week hinted that they were hoping to reopen after about two weeks (that is, at the end of March). That’s firmly out of the question now — if anything, there’s a possibility that closures could be extended past May 1, although this is unpredictable and highly dependent on the extent to which COVID-19 spreads through Montreal and the province.
Despite the mass forced closures, there are still ways to support your favourite small businesses, and their staff, many of whom have been laid off due to coronavirus. You can order from restaurants that are still open for delivery, buy gift cards and merchandise, or donate to various funds for restaurant employees, bar staff, performers, and other workers whose income has been affected.