Australian News

Australian news and media publication

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante is asking the Quebec government to come up with a reopening plan so organizers of concerts, festivals, conferences and other events can start planning.

She said that without some clarity from the Legault government, events will soon have to be canceled again with potentially devastating effects on Montreal’s economy.

“There has to be a plan,” he said at a news conference on Sunday. “What is the plan for the (health) measures for the spring and summer? People are booking…flights right now.”

Plante, Glenn Castanheira of Montreal Centre-Ville and Yves Lalumiere of Tourisme Montreal said they support public health measures but are concerned about events that help boost Montreal’s economy.

“We are about to lose important conferences in which we have worked for many years, some of an international nature. We can no longer accept weekly information about the future,” Lalumiere said.

Story continues below ad

READ MORE: Long road to recovery for Quebec’s cultural sector after COVID-19 lockdowns

On January 20, Ontario announced that events will be allowed at full capacity beginning March 14. Planners in Montreal have had no such indication, leaving hundreds of events and thousands of potential tourists writhing in the wind.

Lalumiere and Castanheira said Montreal is on the brink of losing millions of dollars to other cities.

“I wouldn’t say they’re eating our lunch, but pretty soon that’s what’s going to happen,” Lalumiere said.

If we were to lose them this summer, not only would millions of dollars be lost immediately, but millions of dollars in the long run,” Castanheira said, evoking the difficulty of bringing the events back to Montreal.

Last year, most North American cities canceled events, but this year Montreal is an outlier.

“The difference this time is that we were the first to close and now we are the last to reopen,” Castanheira said.

The head of the evenko booking department was thrilled to hear that the mayor defended the event business. He says international artists are losing patience, choosing to replace Montreal tour dates with American cities.

READ MORE: Omicron, new COVID restrictions mean tough times for Montreal nightlife venues

“We have managed to postpone some of the things that we had booked for January, February and December, but we have lost many shows because the artists are fed up with rescheduling,” Farkas told Global News.

Story continues below ad

Elton John’s farewell tour at the Bell Centre, for example, has just been postponed for the fourth time. He said more than 100 shows have been delayed or canceled since Dec. 18.

“We did a bunch of shows from October through early December and to my knowledge there were no breakouts at any of them,” he said, adding that show promoters enforce masking and vaccination passport rules.

In Quebec, concerts and other half-capacity events are allowed starting Monday, with a maximum of 500 attendees. But he says those rules make most shows worthless.

Events like Osheaga and the Jazz Festival are only a few months away, and she has no idea if they will be allowed to happen.

“We have five festivals coming up this summer that we need to plan for and we need to hire people,” he said. “When Broadway opens on July 1st and we’re still not open, you know, eight months later, it’s a little unnerving.”

Quebec’s health and culture ministries did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Fountain ","author":{"@type":"Person","name":"notimundo","url":"","sameAs":[""]},"articleSection":["Canadu00e1"],"image":{"@type":"ImageObject","url":"","width":720,"height":379},"publisher":{"@type":"Organization","name":"","url":"","logo":{"@type":"ImageObject","url":""},"sameAs":["",""]}}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.