Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }
Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you make the most of staying home.
Visit the hub

A patron enjoys a glass of wine at Lemeac restaurant in Montreal on June 22, 2020.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/Reuters

Bars across Quebec will have to operate at half-capacity and close earlier than usual starting Friday, the province has announced as it seeks to prevent potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

At a news conference in Montreal Thursday, Health Minister Christian Dube did not give examples of delinquent venues, but he said the surge in infections across the United States linked to bars made him nervous.

He said the government wants to be proactive and prevent the potential spread of the virus.

Story continues below advertisement

“I prefer to be more prudent than regret over the next few weeks and few months that we didn’t do the right thing,” Dube said.

He referred to the fact the province reported 137 cases of COVID-19 Thursday – the highest number since June 19 – but said his decision to restrict access to bars was not linked to the new numbers.

As of Friday, bars and nightclubs can no longer sell alcohol after midnight and are limited to 50 per cent of their legal customer capacity. Customers will need to leave the premises by 1 a.m.

Dube added that police will be out in higher numbers, and inspectors will be deployed to make sure bars and nightclubs follow the new rules.

“We need everyone to work together on this, including bar owners and their clients,” he said.

There have now been 5,609 deaths related to the novel coronavirus in Quebec and 56,216 COVID-19 cases, of which 25,616 are considered recovered.

Renaud Poulin, president of the Corporation des proprietaires de bars, brasseries et tavernes du Quebec, said the government has not provided the aid needed to help bar owners weather the financial impact of the pandemic.

Story continues below advertisement

He said hundreds of owners could be forced to shut down their businesses if the new restrictions remain in place for more than two weeks.

“If it lasts a week, it’s OK. If it lasts two weeks, it’s livable … But the more the weeks go on, the harder it will be,” said Poulin, whose organization represents 1,200 bars across the province.

When can I go back to the gym? A guide to Canada’s reopening and COVID-19

COVID-19 news: Updates and essential resources about pandemic

Bar owners from Quebec’s outlying regions have called to voice their concerns about the new measures, Poulin added. “They don’t have any cases (of COVID-19), but they’ll be penalized like everyone else. They think it’s really unfair,” he said.

Dube said he knows bar owners are not happy. “But this is a compromise,” he said. “We said from the beginning that health is the priority.”

He also said the government is encouraging bars to collect personal information from their customers to help with contact-tracing in case an outbreak occurs.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, a non-profit that advocates for business owners, said the restrictions are better than a complete shutdown.

Story continues below advertisement

The group called on the government to do more to help the venues withstand the pandemic.

“It is essential that these measures stay progressive, that the control carried out by the authorities is just and rigorous, and finally, that more action is taken to help these businesses,” the group’s Quebec vice-president, Francois Vincent, said in a statement.

Toby Lyle, co-owner and founder of Burgundy Lion Group, which owns three pubs and two restaurants in Montreal, said he was disappointed the province imposed blanket restrictions instead of going after individual bars that have flouted the rules.

“The vast majority of us try to do a really good job to make sure that we’re being as safe and sanitary as possible,” he said. But he said he understands that the government needed to do something.

Reducing opening hours and capacity will mean employees across his five locations will lose a combined 500 to 600 paid hours each week, Lyle said.

Like Poulin, he hopes the new restrictions won’t last long. “We cannot risk being in this situation for the next six months where we’re not fully open,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies