Home Quebec music Montreal club and bar owners angry at not being able to reach full capacity

Montreal club and bar owners angry at not being able to reach full capacity

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The Quebec government allows full capacity at the Bell Center, but the rules have not been relaxed for small venues and bars.

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Leading local sports and live entertainment producers like the Montreal Canadiens and its concert company Evenko are thrilled with the new rules that allow full capacity in venues. But people who run small independent concert halls and bars are angry that the provincial government’s new rules are not helping them at all.

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On Thursday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé announced that cultural venues, arenas and stadiums will be able to have full seating capacity starting October 8. This means that 21,000 people can come to the Bell Center to see the Habs games, and approach that number for concerts at big prices. . But there is no change for small venues that function as bars and there is no slack for bars.

Sites like the Turbo Haüs alt-rock hot-spot will still have to operate at 50% capacity and will have to stop serving alcohol at 1 a.m.

“I think it’s a fundamental lack of knowledge of what Montreal culture is like, said Turbo Haüs co-owner Sergio Da Silva.

His argument is that places of 100 to 200 people, like Turbo Haüs and L’Escogriffe on rue St-Denis, are essentially bars in the eyes of the law. As such, they have to work with restrictions that make it difficult to generate profit.

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“You’re basically missing the point when you say, ‘Oh, the culture and the art, we’re trying to help these things come back,’ when you’re just making it so that (Canadian owner Geoff) Molson can make a ton silver. of beer by letting 21,000 people enter the Bell Center, ”said Da Silva. “You don’t even have to talk about these (small sites) as a stepping stone. They are valid in themselves. Being able to play 100 people is a valid thing. I have had my best performance experiences in small venues.

“If I watched the same group do the same thing at the Bell Center, it would be a completely different experience and I don’t think I would be wrong if I said it would be a much worse experience. The feeling you get from a small venue, the general vibe you get when you’re crammed into a room with 120 people watching say a hardcore band is going completely gone, you can’t get that anywhere elsewhere. I think it is important. Not helping these places is, I think, a huge missed opportunity.

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Montreal’s indie music scene is recognized worldwide thanks to bands like Arcade Fire, The Dears and Half Moon Run, and all bands started their careers here playing in modest venues like the Casa del Popolo on St-Laurent Boulevard. . or Les Foufounes Électriques on Ste-Catherine Street.

The other thing that worries owners of small venues and bars is that all federal COVID grants to help with wages and rent end in the coming weeks. They say those grants are what have kept them afloat since the pandemic began in the spring of 2020.

Éric Le François – who is co-owner of a dozen bars, including Bar de Courcelle and Le Drinkerie Ste. Cunégonde – Said bar owners were disappointed with Dubé’s announcement on Thursday.

“But we are not surprised, said Le François. “We know that we are always the last in the line of government in terms of priority. So you get used to it. Looks like they know we’re part of the economy, but they think if we go bankrupt there will be someone else coming to run the bar.

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Le Francois said the real problem is that 80% of his bars’ expenses, for wages and rent, have been paid for by pandemic grants from the federal government. But that ends this month.

“People in the bar scene are in a panic,” said Le François. “We’re fed up because the whole industry is going to collapse. We were good citizens. We knew there were public health guidelines to follow. But now it becomes a matter of survival.

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  1. Circus artist Félix Pouliot rehearses at La Tohu on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. The circus hall was closed from March 2020 to July of this year, but it remained open for artist rehearsals.  It is now open to a capacity of 500, compared to 900 at the standard.

    Montreal art scene stuck in balancing act as COVID restrictions slowly ease

  2. Club Soda remained closed on Tuesday, although indoor venues are now allowed to seat 250 people.

    Quebec clubs can now accommodate 250 people, but it is still impossible to make money

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