COVID-19: Summer could be the start of economic rebound for Montreal – Montreal
As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to rise and the start of a gradual lifting of restrictions underway, business experts believe this summer could be the start of a strong rebound for Montreal’s economy .
“Overall, the city, I am very, very confident, will bounce back fully,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.
The economy of the city’s downtown has been battered due to the pandemic. Bars and restaurants have been closed for months and the Formula 1 Grand Prix has been canceled this year for the second summer in a row.
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On top of that, most office workers still work from home and Leblanc believes it will take time to change.
“Getting back to the office will likely be a six month to a year process,” he told Global News.
He estimates that about 25 percent will return this summer and by the fall, only half of the pre-pandemic number.
Leblanc also noted that the tourism sector has faced challenges, as the border with the United States remains closed to non-essential travel.
“This summer, we will be mainly among ourselves,” he said.
Still, experts and government officials insist the summer could provide the jolt the city needs to bounce back.
“The key to the summer will be to reactivate the cultural side of Montreal and its restaurants,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of the Economy and Innovation of Quebec.
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He believes the food industry will help boost the economy.
“In Montreal, it’s one of the city’s attractions,” he said.
Given the low number of short-term tourists, Fitzgibbon stressed that it will be up to the workers to support the restaurants.
“We want the workers to be back in the offices,” he said, “and you want them to eat lunch and dinner and that creates momentum.”
Restaurant terraces will reopen on May 28 and indoor dining can resume two weeks later.
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It remains to be seen how quickly workers return to downtown and that worries restaurateurs who say summer and fall 2021 will be crucial.
“Because winter is more difficult for restaurants than summer,” Normand Laprise, chef and owner of Toqué! Restaurant, said.
Nevertheless, those who watch the economy, like Leblanc, see good momentum in certain sectors.
“If you’re in the construction business, if you’re in finance, if you’re in IT of course, if you’re in a life science economy, well, you’re booming in it. moment, ”he said.
With the restrictions gradually lifting, he expects the weather won’t be the only thing warming up this summer.
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