Quebec's struggling retailers hoping Legault's big announcement includes permission to re-open

With Quebec Premier Francois Legault planning to make a major announcement on Tuesday, the province's retailers are hoping that might include permission to re-open.

“We really believe they're going to announce a re-opening of retail. We don't know if malls are going to re-open, but street front stores will re-open,” said Retail Council of Canada spokesperson Marc Fortin.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, 14 per cent of Montreal's small retailers, or almost 9,000 stores, are close to permanently closing.

Fortin said the hope is that even if there are restrictions, allowing stores to re-open will save some.

Quebec's lockdown was announced in January, when daily new cases of COVID-19 were numbers in the thousands and the province's healthcare system was on the brink of collapse. On Monday, the province reported 890 new cases, the lowest daily total since November. 

Another sector expecting permission to resume business is hair salons.

“Since we re-opened last June, there were only two COVID cases in the entire province linked to hair salons,” said Association of Quebec Hair Salons spokesperson Stephane Gagne.

Fortin said that Legault announcing more financial aid for struggling businesses would be welcome.

“The Quebec government has put in place multiple programs that are all loans, so when you're up to your neck, you don't want more loans,” he said. “That hasn't helped much.”

Legault is scheduled to have his press conference at 5 p.m. CTV News will livestream it online. 

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