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Restaurants across Quebec can now deliver alcohol—but what about bars?

While restaurants are happy to hear about the passing of Bill 72—which allows restaurants to deliver alcohol—and it's a step in the right direction, what about bars?

JP Karwacki
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JP Karwacki
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If you've been seeing restaurants in Montreal and across Quebec cheer on the passing of Bill 72, this is the reason why: Late at night on December 10, Premier François Legault’s government and opposition parties agreed to pass the bill which allows restaurants to deliver alcohol along with food.

The bill was passed the following day. 

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In a press conference the next day, Legault said that this would "allow restaurants that wish to be able to deliver alcoholic drinks to be able to do so. We know that restaurants are suffering quite a bit. There are some that have succeeded in giving food to take out and if drinks can be added to that, I think everybody would wish for that."

As Cult MTL pointed out, the timeline for the adoption of Bill 72 isn't precise as 16 new pieces of legislation are in line in front of it. The alcohol delivery bill "will be adopted a bit later on," Legault said. 

The move comes after the restaurant Joe Beef took to social media to encourage restaurants and bars to sell their alcohol without selling food.

While the eventual passing of Bill 72 has been a cause for celebration among restaurants, bar owners are not so jubilant: It leaves out bar permit holders, ie. bars in and of themselves.

Kevin Demers, owner of several Montreal bars including Parliment Pub & Parlour, El Pequeño and Coldroom, is far from jazzed over the inaction of the provincial government toward bars. "We need answers and transparency from our government," Demers wrote in a post on Instagram

"(Andrew Whibley, owner of the Cloakroom, and I are) both lucky enough to say we're operating internationally-recognized establishments and businesses that were employing some of the most amazing, talented and hard working people we both can say we’ve been lucky enough to work with," Demers wrote. "Yet we’ve been disrespected by not being treated like entrepreneurs, instead we’ve been treated like someone with no voice by our own government.

"Because we own businesses that are labeled with (having only bar permits), we’ve have been tossed aside for the last 8 months. We’re both lucky to say we can survive... but it’s not all the same for the 7,000 other permit holders in Quebec."

Demers went on to note that countries around the world, and in neighbouring provinces like Ontario, have been making changes to liquor law to give bars a fighting chance. Bars, as businesses, are largely regarded as gathering places where social distancing gets neglected when inhibitions are lowered. 

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