Montreal·Video

Terrasse season in Montreal can't come soon enough for restaurants

Montreal may be providing restaurants with more space for terrasses on certain streets, but the restaurants can't proceed without the approval of Quebec public health.

City says terrasses on certain streets can be expanded, once public health gives go-ahead

Ah, a thing of beauty for Montrealers in the summertime. A terrasse! They'll look a little different this year. (CBC)

Terrasse season is upon us! 

Even in the time of COVID-19, the city of Montreal recognizes the population lives to sit out on restaurant patios during the few hot months.

The city has announced it will provide restaurants with more space for terrasses on certain streets, but restaurants still need the go-ahead and instructions from Quebec public health in order to reopen and actually welcome customers.

Destination centre-ville, the downtown business association, is already imagining what a Montreal summer under pandemic restrictions could look like.

It will install outdoor furniture for people to use while they wait in line, two metres apart from one another. It is also putting in place four bike stations, complete with sanitizing station, as it expects more bike use.

There are zero doubts that physical distancing will be necessary, as well as all the obvious sanitary measures, like frequent hand washing and no sharing of dishes or cutlery.

"Restaurants and bars need to figure out how they will make back the money they will lose inside their spaces, on the terrasses," said Emile Roux, executive director of Destination centre-ville.

"However, it's quite a complex equation to solve."

A 3D mock-up of what physical distancing may look like in Place des Arts. (Dix au Carré)

Terrasse safety

Dr. David Kaiser, with Montreal's public health authority, says it is important for people to get fresh air and to socialize safely.

Dr. David Kaiser, from Montreal public health, says masks, physical distancing and staying away if you're sick are key things to think about when going out to socialize. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

The key is for both customers and restaurants to be responsible.

"It's really putting the emphasis on distancing, on face-coverings, and on making sure that if you are sick or have symptoms, you aren't going out," he said.

Kaiser said it's important not to share cutlery but ordering food from a restaurant isn't dangerous.

"We have no evidence that this virus lives on food," he said.

Restaurants, he said, have to be mindful of the space they're offering to customers, by helping them keep their distance.

Montreal is reclaiming street space and one way it's doing that is by expanding terrasses. 2:18

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