Since the start of the pandemic, the activities of several organizations have been affected and there is a certain sense of unease among the population because business owners do not know what to expect in the coming months. Will my company have to close its doors temporarily or permanently? Will I have to lay off workers? Are some of the questions that run through the minds of business directors.

Different sectors have been suffering the economic consequences of the coronavirus for several months now and the restaurant sector is at the forefront of the fight. In this article, we share news about restaurant and bar restrictions in Quebec along with some helpful tips and tools.

Progressive regional alert and intervention system (COVID-19) in Quebec

Quebec recently put in place a progressive regional alert and intervention system to prepare for a possible second wave of COVID-19. This system aims to update the additional measures to be deployed according to the level of alert in each region of the province. Be sure to regularly check the map of COVID-19 alert levels by region

Over the next few months, this new measure aims to:

  • Minimize the social, economic and health impacts of COVID-19;
  • Protect the most vulnerable individuals;
  • Avoid overloading the health system.

The measures to be put in place depend on the level of alert in each region, i.e., the evolution of the number of cases of COVID-19. There are 4 different levels of alert and intervention:

Level 1 – Vigilance

Level 1 recalls the vigilance measures that must be adopted and respected in the context of COVID-19. These measures are applicable for all regions of Quebec since they correspond to the lowest transmission level. The measures put in place by the government (physical distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands, respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette and alternative practices for greetings) must therefore be applied in all settings. Certain specific measures may also affect certain environments or activities.

Here are the basic measures in force for the restaurant industry:

  • Activities organized in a public setting: Businesses with a liquor license must stop selling alcohol at midnight. No consumption is allowed after 1 a.m. and dancing activities are prohibited.
  • Bars, brasseries, taverns, casinos and restaurants: Establishments in the restaurant industry must respect the 50% capacity limit and end the sale of alcohol and food by midnight. They must also keep a register of customers and close at 1 am. There is a limit of a maximum of 10 people per table.
  • Other long-term applicable measures: Police interventions are increasing and there are fines and offense reports for non-compliance with face-covering measures.

(CTA : Health standards and guidelines for restaurants and bars)

Level 2 – Early warning

This level applies to the regions where the transmission of the virus is starting to increase. Basic measures are therefore reinforced to ensure the safety of all. The measures that affect restaurants and bars are the same for level 1 and level 2 (see above). Companies in the restaurant industry can therefore remain open and continue to operate. The difference is that more actions are taken to ensure compliance with measures (more inspections, traffic control, etc.).

( CTA : Covid-19 toolkit for the restaurant industry)

Level 3 – Alert

This level applies to settings and different sectors of activity where the risk of transmission is higher. Restrictions, bans or closures are possible. For example, indoor dining rooms must be closed.

Here are the measures that affect the restaurant industry:

  • Activities organized in a public setting: Establishments that have an alcohol permit must stop selling at 11 p.m. Dancing activities are prohibited as is the consumption of alcohol after midnight. 
  • Bars, brasseries, taverns, casinos: The sale of alcohol and food is not permitted after 11 p.m. Establishments must close their doors at midnight and bars must keep a register of customers. There is a limit of 6 people per table.
  • Restaurants: The sale of alcohol ends at 11 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol at midnight. There is a limit of 6 people per table.
  • Other long-term applicable measures: Police interventions are increasing and there are fines and offense reports for non-compliance with face-covering measures.

Level 4 – Maximum alert

This level applies restrictive measures to regions where the risk of transmission is very high. Certain activities deemed nonessential may therefore be ceased. For example, for restaurants, only takeout and delivery are allowed. The goal is to ensure the safety of the population and avoid widespread containment like we experienced during the first wave of COVID-19.

What are the criteria for alert levels?

The alert level for each region is established according to the recommendations of the authorities in the public health sector. The factors that are taken into account when analyzing each location are:

  • The control of virus transmission
  • The capacity of the health system in this region
  • The epidemiological situation of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus

Tips to help restaurateurs prepare for a possible second wave of COVID-19

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1. Integrate an online ordering tool

Restaurant and bar owners must prepare for the worst if they want to be able to face the months ahead and ensure business continuity. As mentioned above, if certain regions reach level 4, restaurants will only be able to offer takeout and delivery. It is therefore important for companies in the restaurant industry to open an online sales channel.

As a restaurateur, online ordering systems allow you to provide a personalized experience to your customers, benefit from advanced marketing tools and offer different delivery options. UEAT’s ordering system is available on your website and on your white label app. Plus, it integrates directly with your point of sale (POS) and its artificial intelligence module helps you  increase your restaurant profit margins.

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2. Offer delivery

Let’s face it, restaurants that offer delivery to their customers generally have a higher turnover and a competitive advantage as they cater to the different needs of their customers. In the current context of the pandemic, a delivery system is essential.

UEAT’s online ordering system offers you integrated delivery, which allows you to work with third-party delivery apps without compromise. If you already have your own drivers, you also have access to an advanced dispatch system to optimize itineraries and track your orders in real time.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or if you would like more information about our services.

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