How one can assist eating places and bars in Montreal in the course of the coronavirus

With the spread of the novel coronavirus, many Montreal restaurants have switched to exclusively pick-up and delivery services while others have made the difficult decision to close indefinitely. By order of the Quebec government, bars and clubs must close and restaurants that remain open have been asked to operate at 50 percent capacity.

These prolonged closings put many of these facilities at great risk of closing permanently as they currently have few opportunities to make money. The employees are already feeling the need – dozens of them are unemployed and need support.

Here’s how you can help restaurants and their employees:

  • Give directly to workers. A relief fund for the most needy restaurant, bar and café employees is being set up and will be opened for donations in the near future. In the meantime, if you know people who are forcibly unemployed, ask them if they need help – it is also likely that workers or even entire restaurants will start crowdsourcing through sites like GoFundMe in the near future.
  • Get them to take away or deliver. While many are closed, some restaurants are still open with special menus for you to eat at home while keeping your social distance. If you can, order directly from restaurants over the phone rather than through third-party apps that may charge the restaurants. Even though some dining halls are open in restaurants, eating out in times of social distancing may not be the best idea.
  • Buy merch and gift cards. Branded merchandise and gift cards are a lifeline for these businesses today and, in some cases, the only remaining source of income. There can never be a better time to sport your favorite restaurant’s logo on a tote bag, travel mug, t-shirt, toque, or baseball cap. Or to open a cookbook and work in shiny new kitchen equipment. Be aware, however, that delivery may be slower than usual due to the circumstances.

Below is a list of stores that sell merch online, as well as some that may soon start selling. To keep the list clear, we haven’t included restaurants that offer gift cards, but most places do. Maps for some popular independent restaurants in Montreal can be found online on websites such as Brunette or Treater. Even if your favorite spot doesn’t advertise gift certificates, ask: they’ll likely make a custom one for you.

Note that this list is not exhaustive. If your favorite place sells merchandise, let us know and we’ll add it.

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