Restaurant, bar workers stage downtown protest over extended closure

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A group of bar and restaurant workers is holding a demonstration at noon in downtown Montreal to express their frustrations over the extended closures and the Legault government's lack of cohesive measures to help their industry.

"It's to give a face to the people that are out of a job," said Matthew Ackad, a manager "on hiatus" at Barbie's in Laval. 

He's part of a Facebook group started up a month ago to support workers in the hospitality industry

Ackad said the Legault government's constant pivoting on the reopening of bars and restaurants is taking its toll economically and mentally on his co-workers and other people in the business.

"It's hard. It's hard to see their long faces and it's hard to see them struggle because of this," said Ackad. "It's having a devastating effect on our mental health."

Ackad said the government needs to be more transparent and come up with a long term plan to help them live with the pandemic because the industry can't keep hanging on in limbo.

Premier Legault last announced that closures would be extended to January 11.

"We were expecting some sort of evidence as to why? Why are they shutting us down?" said Ackad.

"It's definitely frustrating."

Ackad said they will be expressing those frustrations at the demontration at Dorchester Square starting at noon.

"What we need to do is find a solution that works for everyone as best as possible and that doesn't create several more problems in determining that solution," said Ackad.

"We're given no options and we're given no evidence or proof of why we're being shut down so it kind of makes us feel helpless."

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