Montreal restaurant and bar owner’s coalition – The Legault government’s decision to single out and unilaterally shut down restaurants and bars will have immediate and devastating consequences to an industry already hanging on by a thread. Make no mistake, thousands of jobs will be permanently lost over the coming 28 days and tens of thousands will be lost if the shut down lasts any longer.
The CAQ government’s choice to close us all on the day that the federal CECRA rent assistance program expires and that tens of thousands of restaurants and bars across the province have a full month’s rent due shows that Legault, the entrepreneur, has no idea what the reality of being an entrepreneur actually is.
Hunters can hunt, hockey players can play hockey, but we can not serve a socially distanced meal to a patron in our establishments.
We have had to wait three anxious days to find out what the promised financial assistance would be, and then to find out that it will be in the form of loans, even with some of it being forgivable, is almost more insulting than nothing at all. Loans cripple most businesses, especially in an industry such as ours where our profit margins are razor thin.
As such, as a first step, we demand that the provincial government forgive and re-imburse all provincial sales tax payments due, since April 1st, 2020, when we were originally shut down. We are happy to pay our GST but will send it directly to the CRA to ensure that the provincial government do not have access to any of our funds.
We spent millions of dollars to renovate our restaurants, to create the safest spaces we possibly could, to do our part to combat the pandemic and restart the economy. We have reacted more responsibly than most industries and yet had to deal with a barrage of political messaging dissuading the public from visiting us in the short three months we were allowed to operate this summer.
Mr. Legault, you have shown a complete disrespect and disregard to an industry that is amongst the highest employers in our province. And we have had enough.
Montreal restaurant and bar owner’s coalition
Toby Lyle , owner, Burgundy Lion Group
Genevieve Guertin, owner, Gepetto
Vaughan Chittock, owner, Pub St-Pierre
Anita Karski, owner, Stash Café
John Orr, owner, Ye Olde Orcharde Group
Joseph Pilotte, owner, Pub Lord William
Vianney Godbout, owner, Chasse-galerie, maisonnette, Mignonette, coeur de Loup
Ariel Goldstein, owner, Philemon Bar and Tiers Paysage
Stuart Ashton, owner, Mclean’s Pub
Trevor Coulton, owner, 212 Montreal
Sébastien Poucant, owner, Le Bon Vivant
Michael Ghorayeb, owner, BLVD Bar and Gril, Cameron Public House
Reid young, owner, Le Wendigo Hudson
Feature image: Stogies Cigars Lounge on Crescent street.