“I hope it lasts, that this change is maintained and there are no more surprises.”

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The sun was shining through the large front windows of Vices & Versa and onto a cozy table for two, where Omer Moussaly and Aida Vosoughi were sitting enjoying a beer Monday afternoon.

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It was the first day that bars, restaurants, taverns and casinos in the province were allowed to receive customers at full capacity and resume normal operating hours. Certain sanitary measures will remain in force. Clients are still required to present their vaccine passports upon entry, remain seated, and wear a mask while on the move. There is a maximum of 10 people, or residents of three households, per table. And there must be a distance of at least one meter between the tables, or dividers between the tables when that is not possible.

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“It feels good,” Moussaly said of the looser measures. “I hope it lasts, that this change is maintained and there are no more surprises. It is good for companies. I went out with friends the other day, and all kinds of bars and pubs have closed because of what happened. We have to try to drink more in the ones that remain ”.

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Vosoughi said she will feel just as safe now that more people can be in bars and restaurants.

“At this time last year, in my network, everyone was depressed because of the restrictions,” he said. “So I think this is important.”

At the back of the bar, Paul Edsall, his wife Vivi Nguyen, and their friend Annabel Pineda had found a quiet corner.

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“It feels very safe to come from the United States, where people are not required to show vaccine passports,” Edsall said. He came from Ann Arbor, Michigan, two months ago to be with Nguyen while she handles immigration procedures so she can join him in the US.

“With the vaccine passport, (the relaxation of the measures) makes sense,” Nguyen added.

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“I’m a bit skeptical,” Pineda said. “I hope things don’t go backwards because of that. But it’s good. We were one of the most restrictive places in the world. So let’s see how it goes. “

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Patrons at the Vices & Versa bar in Little Italy enjoy the last rays of the sun shining on the bar on Monday, November 1, 2021.
Patrons at the Vices & Versa bar in Little Italy enjoy the last rays of the sun shining on the bar on Monday, November 1, 2021. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

Vices & Versa manager Julie Lacroix said looser regulations won’t change much in business terms.

“If I have to maintain barriers between everyone, that takes up space. People still have to keep their distance, so we don’t add as many tables. This is fake news. People cannot stand and we have to keep a meter between the tables or have a barrier, which takes up space, so we cannot be at full capacity. “

At Little Italy’s Dante pizzeria, Claudia Martinez, her husband Wendy Guerrero, and her sister Claudia were helping their mother Myriam Garcia celebrate her 75th birthday. Garcia contracted and recovered from COVID-19 a year ago while hospitalized for a hip fracture. So the family thinks they are no worse off in a restaurant.

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“We go out (to eat) at least three times a week,” Claudia said of her and her husband. “If people get vaccinated, I have no problem. Restaurants may be at full capacity. “

“It’s going to be a change, that’s for sure, a welcome change,” said waiter Alex Maru. The new rules won’t make things less safe, he explained.

“We always take precautions. People sanitize their hands when entering the restaurant. Everyone keeps their distance and when they get up they wear a mask ”.

In downtown Hurley’s Irish Pub, manager Rod Applebee said new measures better come late than never.

“It was about time,” he said, “with the authorized Bell Center a couple of weeks ago, while we were still waiting.”

But he’s looking on the bright side. Like the fact that you may not have to make people wait in line on weekends, as has been the case in recent months.

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And he also questioned the government’s “full capacity” claim.

“People still have to keep their distance inside,” Applebee said. But I am not arguing. We are happy that it is happening. “

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