Restaurant owners who are understaffed or who are against the health measure will close their dining room to avoid managing the vaccination passport.
“It breaks my heart, even though I’m tired,” says Mario Drouin.
He will close his seasonal canteen Chez Mimi, located in Val-des-Sources, in the Eastern Townships on September 1 instead of the date scheduled for October.
The entry into force of the vaccination passport tomorrow would oblige it, like all restaurant owners, to verify the vaccination proof of customers who wish to have a meal there.
“We already have a hard time having employees and that would take one more person from me,” laments Mr. Drouin.
He says he works 120 hours a week to run his establishment, whose sales have jumped 50% since the pandemic.
Other restaurants have announced that they will be closing their dining rooms while maintaining delivery and take-out since it is too difficult to find employees to verify QR codes.
“Already, we have a shortage of manpower, and there should be their [les employés] add tasks that are really questionable, ”says Eric Miller, owner of L’Œil du Dragon sushi restaurants, located in Quebec and Lévis.
This is also the case for the Amir restaurants, in Rawdon, in Lanaudière and Chez To Go in Montreal, according to the information published on their social networks.
In the Quebec City region, other establishments have resigned themselves to not sitting down at their tables as of September 1.
“There are a lot of restaurateurs who tell me that they are not going to be able to apply the vaccination passport because they do not have a lot of employees”, notes Peter Sergakis, owner of restaurants and bars and president. of the Union des tenanciers de bars du Québec.
Other restaurants explained to Journal that they closed their dining room out of conviction.
“You cannot say to a client who has been coming for 15 years: ‘You are my boyfriend, but you cannot come home because you are not vaccinated'”, says Joey Vigliotti, owner of the restaurant Vincent Sous-Marins in Montreal-North, which itself is not vaccinated.
The Association Restauration Québec (ARQ) believes that the vaccine passport is a lesser evil, after nearly 18 months of pandemic.
“It’s going to be a burden, it’s complicated, we know that. But for the whole industry, which is not a monolith, this is better than closing the dining rooms. If some people want to close their dining room, it’s a management choice, ”says Martin Vézina, communications and public affairs manager at the ARQ.
For Alain Lamarre, professor in immunology, virology and cancer at the National Institute for Scientific Research (INRS), the vaccine passport will have a “major impact” in limiting transmission in places such as restaurants.
“The fact that it’s going to be done in the context of the fall recovery, when people are going inside and schools are coming back, is where the virus is spreading the best. Of course, this is a measure that will help at least for this type of activity. “
– With Catherine Bouchard, The Journal of Quebec