Employee at popular West Island bar tests positive for COVID-19

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by Caroline van Vlaardingen and Katelyn Thomas, CTV Montreal

A popular pub in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue is the latest in the greater Montreal area to go on hiatus after a COVID-19 case that could have exposed patrons to the virus.

Annies Sur Le Lac has temporarily closed so that its staff – about 20 people – can get tested for COVID-19 after a member of management tested positive.

The pub’s manager, Kevin O’Connel, told CTV News the measure wasn’t required by public health but was taken out of an abundance of caution. 

“This is all new to us,” he said.

He also wanted to publicize the situation so that anyone who visited the bar on Friday, Saturday or Sunday can be aware, monitor their health and go get their own tests if needed.

Employees wear personal protective equipment and practice proper hygiene, O’Connel said. The person who tested positive also didn’t interact directly with customers.

Still, that person had been at the pub over the weekend, and was in contact with other staff, so they aren’t taking any chances, he said. 

Annie’s reopened on June 22 with health protocols in place, O’Connel said. More than two dozen tables were removed from the outdoor terrace to allow two metres of distance between patrons. They made it easier for people to wash their hands and put protective equipment on staff.

O’Connel says he called public health authorities at Info-Santé and was told the bar isn’t under any obligation to close, but they decided to “pull the plug” anyway. 

They’ll reopen once all the staff have been tested—15 to 20 people—and the entire establishment can be sanitized. A cleaning company is coming in on Friday to do the deep clean.

None of the other staff is showing symptoms. If all the test results come back this week, it’s possible the bar will reopen this weekend.

In the meantime, the bar has posted a sign on the door that explains the closure.

After a much bigger outbreak in Montérégie, which involved a bar in the South Shore, Quebec released new rules today for bars. They include cutting off alcohol sales at midnight, limiting capacity to 50 per cent and banning dancing.

O’Connel said his bar had reopened for the spring and summer season for a single day in March when the pandemic forced it to shut. Now, after reopening for just two weeks, he says he’s very disappointed about all the stops and starts but wants to put safety first.

He went for his own test this morning in Mercier, he said.

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