Restaurants excited for mask removal on Saturday

By Pamela Pagano

From enjoying your morning coffee to grabbing lunch – starting Saturday your orders may be the same but your routine may be a little different because masks are no longer required in public spaces as of May 14th in Quebec.

Masks will remain mandatory on public transport, hospitals, long-term care homes, and for those who test positive for COVID-19.

“I can’t wait. It’s not only just being able to see everyone’s faces, [but] it’s also really hot,” said Ellianna Reale, an employee at Café Milano.

“It’s hard to understand people, but it’s also hard to connect with people. You can smile at them, right?”

Café Milano

Coffee being made at Café Milano. (Photo: CityNews)

Quebec is the last Canadian province to lift its mask mandate. Local business owners say although they look forward to it – they will remain cautious.

“It’s going to feel good, especially with the heat coming. It’s going to feel so much better and it’s going to be nice to see people smile again,” Tony Callocchia, Owner & Manager, Café Milano.

“No more masks mean we get to see our client’s faces again and we get to see them actually laugh when we say jokes,” said Max Di Cerbo, Barista, Cafe Milano.


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“People get happier is more positive,” said Carey Ho, Owner of Ojo Sushi. “After tomorrow, I may ask my employees, they wear the mask until the end of this month.”

Quebec saw another major drop in hospitalizations in the last 24 hours, but experts warn – it’s important to remain vigilant.

Ojo Sushi

Ojo Sushi. (Photo: CityNews)

“We are only starting to get hospitalizations under control. You have variants that are potentially more transmissible. You have this outbreak of hepatitis that is life-threatening and for which we don’t entirely know what’s going on but it could very well be related to COVID in unvaccinated children. You kind of put the pieces together and say maybe the masks should be kept in place, at least in indoor activities, including schools,” explained Dr. Donald Vinh, infectious diseases specialist, MUHC.

Public health reminded Quebecers that the pandemic is not over – we are trying to find a balance, living with the virus.

“Let’s not forget that over the last two years we have seen people get sick from this infection. We have seen people get hospitalized. We have seen people die from this infection. And by the way, that is not old news, that is current news,” said Vinh.

Reale adding, “for those who do plan on keeping their masks on, I completely understand it’s about your health and how you feel most comfortable, and we won’t judge you. I know in some situations; I might keep mine on too.”

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