Social distancing is not possible in the bars, according to owners

La distanciation sociale est impossible dans les bars, selon les propriétaires

The owners of bars and clubs still have no idea of the date on which they will be able to reopen. In addition, they have a lot of difficulty finding how they can enforce their customers the most basic rules of social distancing.

Dancing on a dance floor to two meters of distance? Make a 5 to 7 at the bar without a toast? Pierre Thibault responds without hesitation : “Impossible. It is impossible to make the detachment in a context of a bar,” says the president and founder of the association of the bar of Quebec.

Co-owner of the Taverne Saint-Sacrement and Pub West Shefford on the Plateau-Mont-Royal, Mr. Thibault also stated that the port of the mask by the employees is inconceivable this summer.

“Imagine my cooking to be 30, 31 degrees with a mask or my waitress on the terrace. It is impossible to serve them with masks. This could cause sores on the skin to the employees and the security of these is paramount,” shows there.

Nic Urli, a co-owner of the nightclubs Flyjin and Velvet Auberge Saint-Gabriel, both located in Old Montreal, does not even consider the openness of its institutions with these strict measures of social distancing.

“I see pictures of bars and restaurants with the plexiglass and I think it’s terrible. The purpose of the bars, it’s to bring people together. I’m all for human connection and experience. I’m not going to re-open that when you will not need to be in a bubble of plexiglas. For now, we will leave the Flyjin sleep time that it’s going to take. It was decided that as shareholders and we are lucky to be able to do it,” he states.

Jonathan Blanchard, manager for 27 years at the bar mythical Foufounes électriques, also believes that compliance with social distancing will be difficult in bars.

“Customers are already irritated to be told what to do in a normal context. There, the police tell them that they are too close, they must wear masks, they have to sit not too close, I tell you, this will not be easy,” he says.


Mr. Thibault indicates that the solutions remain vague for the bar industry, but that government could give them a hand, for example by granting the right to delivery of alcohol with food for the time of the crisis.

“All the world is in the take mode out. But we other bars, it does not have the permission to sell alcohol for take-away such as restaurants, according to the law. Seems to Me that this would be a direct way to encourage the bars… Think of the wine bars like the Bar At Simone and the Red Throat, who have the right to sell food, but no alcohol. This is ridiculous. It just requires an exceptional measure to be” temporary, ” he says.

The possibility of transforming the bars into large outside terraces during the summer season, is also considered.

“The idea is to save our business. We talk about it now with the boroughs of the projects of large terraces with corridor pedestrian, like other major cities of the world,” he says.

Peter Sergakis, who owns many establishments in the metropolis and who has initiated the petition for the reopening of bars and restaurants for the next June 1st, the survival of the bars will depend on one thing : the help of the government.

“We will all face bankruptcy if it has no subsidy from the government. I’m not talking about a loan, but grant. It gives us a lot of money at Cirque du Soleil, Bombardier and Air Canada, and the rest of us, nothing! It is near bursting. The government has completely forgotten. This is not acceptable for tenants and owners of restaurants. We want to get the message out,” he says flatly.

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