To hell with the rules in a crowded restaurant in Laval

To hell with the rules in a crowded restaurant in Laval

Dance, almost no mask, many meetings, alcohol served after midnight. More than 200 people seemed to be completely unaware of the threat of COVID-19 during a festive evening at a restaurant in Laval on Saturday evening.

As several regions of Quebec went from the yellow zone to the orange, last weekend, our Investigation Office went to the Lordia restaurant, on boulevard Curé-Labelle, in Laval. The establishment is well known for its festive evenings.

In the midst of a pandemic, physical distancing was anything but respected at the Lordia restaurant in Laval on Saturday evening.

We have seen that the list of breaches of public health directives hammered out for months by the Legault government was long.

In this reception hall-type restaurant, dozens of tables were arranged around a dance floor and a stage, which also hosted two singers on Saturday evening. Tables were within two meters of each other, and no physical barriers, such as plexiglass, were present.

If customers arrived with their masks, many quickly abandoned them during their travels. Even table service employees walked around without face coverings.

As the evening progressed, physical distancing seemed to be less and less respected, to the point where, around 11 p.m., customers got up to wiggle their hips to the rhythm of Lebanese music.

Police lightning passage

Around midnight, the party was interrupted by the presence of ten officers from the Laval Police Department (SPL). As part of Operation OSCAR, announced last Friday by the Minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, they had to ensure that hygiene and distancing measures are respected.

Those who were dancing then sat down at their table. The police remained on site for ten minutes and gave no statement of offense.

Many customers got up to dance at the end of the evening.

About an hour later, around 1 a.m., the festivities resumed with vigor. Customers were dancing without masks, with a glass of alcohol in their hand. There were hugs, reconciliations, and shifts.

In addition, alcohol service was still possible, even if, since September 17, it must stop after midnight in this region in the yellow zone.

On two occasions, employees asked the journalist, who passed for a client, to stop filming on her cell phone, and above all, not to broadcast anything on social networks.

“Reprehensible”

“The owners of the establishment … it's as if they had done it on purpose. They organized a staging in front of the police. It is no longer neglect. It's downright reprehensible, ”said epidemiologist Nima Machouf, to whom we told about our evening.

Reached by phone, Michel Imad, owner of Lordia, denied any breach of public health rules.

The facade of Lordia, located on boulevard Curé-Labelle.

“I think you got bad information […]. You have chosen the wrong restaurant […]. All the measures have been respected, ”he said.

SPL spokesperson Julie Marois explained that the report of the patrollers who presented themselves did not indicate that violations had been committed.

According to her, the SPL was more in awareness mode during its bar and restaurant crawl last weekend. Other police forces in Quebec, however, issued tickets.

IT MUST STOP, SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH

“Gatherings are the main source of outbreaks in Laval,” explains Judith Goudreau, of the communications department of Public Health in Laval.

Without commenting directly on the situation we observed at Lordia, she adds that “such behavior must stop now, otherwise Laval will move to the orange level quickly”.

The region has 6,688 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

WHAT WE HAVE SEEN

1. Lack of physical distancing

Some tables weren't two meters apart, and there was no protective barrier, like plexiglass.

What the law says

In a restaurant, in a bar or in any other room used for catering or alcohol consumption: the premises must be arranged so that a distance of two meters is maintained between the tables, unless there is a barrier physical to limit contagion does not separate them.

2. No mask wearing

Several customers and waiters did not wear the mask when they moved around the restaurant.

What the law says

Wearing a mask or face covering covering the nose and mouth is compulsory in closed or partially covered public places for people aged 10 and over.

A procedural mask and eye protection (goggles or visor covering the face up to the chin) are provided and worn by personnel performing a task requiring being within two meters of another person and within absence of physical barriers.

3. Dance

A few dozen people danced to their heart's content, before and after the passage of the police.

What the law says

It is forbidden to dance in bars. Lordia restaurant is however registered with a restaurant permit serving alcohol. The Institut national de santé publique du Québec has not made any recommendations about dancing in restaurants. According to epidemiologist Nima Machouf, there is no vagueness.

“We are asked to keep a distance, to avoid crowds, especially if it's indoors. This evening [Saturday] goes against the collective effort. ”

4. Alcohol after midnight

Our reporter was able to have a cranberry vodka served after midnight. She also found that several other customers were served alcohol after this hour.

What the law says

The government decree adopted specifically for COVID-19 prohibits the serving of alcoholic beverages before 8 a.m. and after midnight.

5. More than 200 people

There were so many revelers at Lordia Laval that they were unable to keep a distance of two meters at all times.

What the law says

At the material time, nothing was preventing the establishment from welcoming so many people. Its license shows a capacity of 498 people. The government decree in force only required it to keep a distance of two meters between customers.

“This could imply reducing the reception capacity”, simply indicate the directives of the Public Health of August 10.

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