Montreal businesses, customers have no plans to return to COVID-19 restrictions

Businesses and their customers say they have no intention of going back to masks and restrictions following news that the province has entered a seventh wave.

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It’s only been a few weeks since Marie Geller-Oles reopened indoor seating at her Pointe-Claire Village cafe, and despite a new uptick in the virus, she has no plans to close again.

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Geller-Oles co-owns the Victor Rose Café on Cartier Ave. As the province announced Thursday that it has officially entered a seventh wave of the virus, Geller-Oles said he has no plans to bring back any of his business’s health measures. adopted before mask mandates were lifted last spring.

“We will follow government guidelines, but if it is not a regulation, we will keep it as an option for individuals and staff,” Geller-Oles said Thursday morning. However, he believes that he will not like that there are new guidelines imposed by the province in this wave of the virus.

“I think at this point, we all have to make it a part of our lives,” he said, adding that any new restrictions would likely have a punishing effect on businesses. “I think we have to start moving forward and moving forward, because the number of small businesses that have closed and couldn’t reopen, it can’t happen again because too many people are going to suffer.”

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Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé puts on his mask after a press conference on COVID-19 in Montreal on July 7, 2022.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé puts on his mask after a press conference on COVID-19 in Montreal on July 7, 2022. Photo by Pierre Obendrauf /Montreal Gazette

At a press conference Thursday morning, Health Minister Christian Dubé said he had no intention of reintroducing mask mandates or other restrictions for businesses or even public transport. However, he urged people to keep up with their vaccinations, and those who test positive for the virus to self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

In a park across the street from Victor Rose, Paul Lafleur and Marie-Josée Drouin sat at a picnic table with their children, holding cold drinks from the cafeteria. They took the news of a seventh wave of the virus with a shrug.

“I think the media likes to play on people’s fears and make them worse,” Lafleur said. “We just have to deal with it. I’ll be careful, but at some point, we have to keep living. I will listen to the experts who know much more than me and I will do what they recommend.”

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Drouin thinks it’s time for Quebecers to start talking about living with the virus and more about health care in general.

“I think we should talk more about what it means to live with a virus period, instead of this virus, because there will be many viruses and it will happen again. I think the world is a little more prepared for a heavy virus.

“I’m not particularly worried about that,” she added. “It’s like the precautions we take with children, like washing your hands and not going out when you’re sick.”

Pushing her 10-month-old son Thomas in a stroller down the sidewalk, Helena Evangeliou said she would like the province to stop talking about the virus as if it was still an emergency situation, and talk more in terms of long-term strategies. to live with the virus.

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“Maybe we should stop talking about waves and start talking about a new normal,” said Evangeliou, a doctor on maternity leave. “This is now an endemic virus that we will have to learn to live with for a long time, so what are the long-term strategies?”

Evangeliou said that he recently stopped wearing his mask in most public places and does not plan to alter his behavior due to a seventh wave. He added that he does not believe there is any public support for adopting new health restrictions.

At the other end of Pointe-Claire Village, Ye Olde Orchard pub owner Shauna Feehan said she doesn’t think the virus will hurt her business.

“I think customers feel super safe here,” he said. “Those who don’t feel comfortable just don’t come. It feels like normal times again.”

She does not expect to go back to the obligations of wearing a mask while in a restaurant or bar.

“I don’t think they’ll go down that road again,” he said. “I think it’s just another virus that we’re going to have to live with, like the flu.”

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