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Montreal restaurateurs 'in shock' after provincial government orders 28-day closure

BY , Sep 29, 2020 11:14 PM - REPORT AN ERROR

A server wears a face mask at a restaurant in Montreal, Saturday, September 26, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Quebec restaurateurs say they are in shock after the government ordered restaurant dining areas closed for 28 days in the province's two biggest cities.

The order was one of several announced by authorities on Monday as they moved Montreal and Quebec City to the highest COVID-19 alert level, banning private indoor gatherings and shutting bars and cinemas.

Martin Vezina, spokesman for Quebec's restaurateur association, said today that restaurants aren't the problem, and that many of his members have spent thousands of dollars on measures to protect diners and staff. 

Montreal's public health director, Dr. Mylene Drouin, told reporters today there have been no reported outbreaks and no reports of COVID-19 transmission from staff to clients in the city's restaurants.

Michael Lafaille, who opened a second location of his restaurant, Kwizinn, three weeks ago, says despite working hard and playing by the rules, he feels restaurants aren't being treated as real businesses. 

Vezina says his group is calling on the government to help restaurants with rent and cash flow, warning that many are at risk of closing permanently.

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