MONTREAL – the centre of The city of Montreal lost its international tourists, its festivals and its workers in the office towers since the beginning of the pandemic. Merchants on the corner, they face loss of clients that grow close to the precipice.
To revive the city centre, the City of Montreal unveiled on Tuesday a plan of $ 400,000 that the general manager of the hotel Vogue, Eric Quesnel, qualifies as “better than nothing”.
Here are four traders, entrepreneurs, and restaurateurs who talk about their new reality.
1. Look through the circulars for food
On Drummond street, the restaurant Madisons has decreased its turnover by more than 90 %. The owner Roulla Kyriacow estimated harvest revenues of $ 5,000 to $ 7,000 per week compared with a turnover of $ 60,000 prior to the pandemic.
Ms. Kyriacow trying to save by all means by going to buy it-even the food.
“I’m going to me-even at my suppliers and I try to find what is in discount, does she have given in the example. Sometimes the menu is changed because I have not found a fish that was of good quality.”
The cost of food has increased by 10% to 15%, ” she says.
The lady assures not to collect the 4 % tip that the servers usually need to give back to the company. “It is all in there, I can’t remove the money, you do not already have a lot of customers”, pointed out the one that has no more than seven employees still in post instead of a fifty.
Roulla Kyriacow is unworthy of the situation which the force to open his restaurant at a loss. “Montreal is going to die, she believes. This is not with 400 000 $ from the mayor that this is going to help restaurants.”
2. The Peas Looked to 10% of its employees
The vice-president of operations of the restaurant Peas-Leaning, Gino Mourin, holding it with only 10 % of his usual team every day. There is one chef, two servers, a person at the bar, three helpers-cooks, and a person plunges.
“It is very well done,” said Mr. Mourin. It has prioritized the fathers, those who had most need of their employment. Here, the brigade is a family. So, we have entered into agreements to those who wanted to enjoy their summer, or were with their parents, for example.”
The pandemic has forced the closure of two of his other restaurants. “We tried to roll it at a loss. It was closed the other to ensure the survival of it,” he started, noting that 15 of its neighbouring restaurateurs on the boulevard Of Maisonneuve are open so that they were 30 before the crisis.
Customers come in intermittently. “We no longer have the rush of the afternoon,” said Gino Mourin.
Since the beginning of the month, the latter notes that fewer customers leave. “When we had the opening in June, bookings were going well. Now it is quiet all day,” he lamented.
Before the pandemic, the Peas Looked prepared 200 meals a day, now, a total of 80 meals come out of the kitchens to the services of the afternoon and evening. The restaurant closes an hour earlier than usual, and the management has taken the decision to close on Mondays, due to lack of clients.
3. No customers
In the neighborhood of a Thousand Golden Square (Golden square Mile), the passers-by are rare. At the jewelry shop, Blue as the sky, the president of the company Marie-Hélène Chartray note 75 % less traffic.
“My clients were really hard to find parking. I have a client who has searched for 30 minutes. The parking at the Palais des congrès and at the Complexe Desjardins does not help us to us”, pointed out the jeweller on boulevard De Maisonneuve.
The City has announced in its recovery plan as the Palace of Congress offers parking at a reduced price, but the travel time is 20 minutes to walk to the shops of the Golden Square Mile.
Ms. Chartray is in disagreement with the pathways and parking lots have to be sacrificed on the rue Sainte-Catherine, put in place to create corridors health in order to distance the pedestrians of two metres. “There are not enough pedestrians to be two pathways that are crossed”, she remarks.
She sees the faces of the passers-by changed. “The city centre is usually full of workers. Now, I see that there are more and more homeless who sleep in front of the shops. The people have no more money to give them. I find it sad for them,” she added.
Marie-Hélène Chartray would like to remind that the customers of his shop and the ones surrounding it are mostly people who frequent the city centre for the job: “Our shops really depend on the business people’.
4. Hotels at reduced prices
At the Hotel Vogue on de la Montagne street, always in the Golden Square Mile, the room price dropped $ 150. According to Eric Quesnel, the general manager of the hotel, in the summer of 2019 for a room cost 379 $, at this time, the average price is $229.
For the 142-room hotel has an occupancy rate of between 30% and 35%, it goes up to 50% during the weekends.
To ensure the sustainability of its business, Mr. Quesnel believes “that at least 60 % occupancy it is satisfactory. But whether at 20 % or 90 %, the majority of our expenses are the same”, he stressed.
According to M. Quesnel, the tourist offer is cyclical and to receive tourists, it takes an attraction. These same tourists also become consumers of restaurants and shops.
“The summer season, it is mainly tourists, he said. Business trips are a little less likely given that the offices are almost closed. It is hoped that by September it returning a bit more normal. This, that will help a little more to increase the volume of business.”