Montreal record stores – Because of a 1970 bylaw, that does not allow retail stores to remain open after 5:00pm on weekends, in April of 2019 several record stores in Mile End area were given fines that amounted to over $2000 each for being open past the allowed time. They including Sonorama, La Rama, Phonopolis and La Fin du Vinyle. Soon after, fourteen local records stores worked together and sent an open letter to the CAQ’s Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon. They requested the record stores be added as an exception to the 1970 bylaw. A copy was also sent to the Mayor of Montreal, Valerie Plante.
Montreal Record Stores fined for staying open after hours
The bylaw already had exceptions for businesses such as bookstores, grocery stores and pharmacies, as well as some shops selling artistic crafts and products in tourist areas – and they could see no reason why record stores should not be exempted as well. A spokesperson for the Minister said he was was open to revisiting the exemptions to the bylaw. Mayor Plante had said her administration was open to using its special powers as a metropolis to change the rules about store hours to help local record shops and other small businesses. After giving a speech to the Chambre de commerce de l’est de Montréal she said to the media, “When I heard about it, that they were receiving fines from Quebec, I was disappointed… when we looked at the rules, we realized the bylaw is not flexible enough. So it’s our job now, to work on adapting the bylaw to give more flexibility for opening hours, because how people consume and their shopping habits are changing, so we have to adapt to this.”
Plante took their concerns seriously and on this past Wednesday January 28th, she took to social media and made an announcement. And it was what the record stores were hoping for. “Good news!” she wrote in a Tweet and posted on her Facebook page. “As of this spring, the City of Montreal will extend the opening hours of record stores. We will also be inviting merchants and boroughs to make the rules surrounding opening hours more flexible. You have to know how to adapt and that’s what we do!” The letter from the record store merchants also requested that the government drop the fines against them, but when the Mayor was asked if they would be dropped, said she has no power to do so because they came from Quebec. Nonetheless, it is a victory for Montreal’s local businesses.
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