Restaurant owners still waiting for emergency loans, two months later

Montreal's restaurant owners were relieved when an announcement came that financial help to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic was on the way. But two months later, several owners said they're still waiting for the cash to arrive.

At La Dinette Triple Crown, dining room service has been shut down, as it has for all other restaurants in the province's red zones. While a takeout window remains open, staffing and clientele have been been reduced by 70 per cent. Owner Nicole Turcotte said she's wondering when help from the provincial government will arrive.

“It reeks of a lack of leadership,” she said. “This has dragged on for so long—the partial shutdowns, dining rooms open, closed, bars open, bars closed—it feels like there's never been a plan in this province.”

In October, the province promised emergency aid in the form of loans for restaurants forced to close their dining rooms. Up to 80 per cent of that loan could be forgiven, but restauranteurs said they don't know how much they will have to pay back.

“I'm angry because we have worked so hard in the last nine years to build what we did and you watch it slip away, not from your own actions, but because the leadership in the province doesn't seem to have a handle on it,” said Turcotte.

In an email to CTV News, a government spokesperson said it's aware of the delays in getting the loans out and is working to reduce the wait times.

Le Tequila Bar owner Viral Patel said he's among those still waiting and the delay is proving costly.

“I have to be really careful as to how we spend money for the business. Everything is still grey, we're not sure how much we can spend,” he said.

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