OUTRAGEOUS: Terraces shut down during Grand Prix in Montreal

'It was cruel to have waited two or three weeks to come and close us down while the restaurant is full, in front of a lot of people. I ended up breaking down in tears.'

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Several restaurants were forced to close their terraces by Montreal fire safety services due to alleged "dangerous conditions" during the Grand Prix weekend, despite having all the required paperwork to operate their outdoor areas. Sandra Ferreira, director of operations for Groupe Ferreira in Montreal, shed light on the incident through a video that went viral on social media.

On the first day of the Grand Prix, fire safety inspectors from the Montreal Fire Department conducted an operation in the city to verify the compliance of different terraces and check for potential "dangerous conditions."

At 9 p.m., fire safety inspectors instructed Ferreira to shut down her restaurant's terrace during service. The reason was that the terrace, which had a tent, was 58 centimeters too close to the building, posing a potential fire hazard. But Ferreira's restaurant wasn’t the only restaurant that saw their terrace shut down.

Safety inspectors apparently told Ferreira to evacuate her clients from the terrace or they would shut down the entire restaurant. “I was told again that I had to clear the restaurant. I asked what would happen if I didn't? They told me it was either the terrace or the restaurant,” she mentioned in a video.

In the same viral video posted the night of the incident, Ferreira said, “It was cruel to have waited two or three weeks to come and close us down while the restaurant is full, in front of a lot of people. I ended up breaking down in tears.” She continued, “For those who know, Sainte-Catherine Street is closed for two years, so Peel Street won't be accessible by car for two years. After that, for three years, Peel Street will be under construction from René Lévesque to Sherbrooke.”

The Monday following the incident on June 10, the city met with the restaurant owners to discuss the situation. After their meeting, a press conference was held across the street from the Ferreira restaurant where Luc Rabouin, the executive committee chair of the City of Montreal, answered questions from journalists. Mayor Valérie Plante was notably absent, which did not go unnoticed, as the Ville-Marie borough is her jurisdiction.

“It’s really shameful and unacceptable what we’ve seen over the weekend here at a few restaurants on Peel Street. We have been waiting for Mayor Plante for over 24 hours during the weekend and again today,” said Julien Hénault-Ratelle of the City Hall opposition Ensemble Montréal. He added, “We still don't have any answers from the Plante administration regarding what happened and what is going to be done over the next few days and weeks to help all of the business owners who had difficulties over the weekend.”

Valérie Plante and her administration have been heavily criticized regarding this outrageous incident. Recently, two fire safety workers were suspended in relation to the events.

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