Excited about terrasse season in Montreal? Don't get your hopes up just yet

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Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante wants bar and restaurant terrasses to open by June 1 if public health guidelines permit, but her Thursday announcement was quickly met with pushback by the province's health minister.

Christian Dubé said municipal politicians should "stay calm" and wait for Quebec's plan to reopen the economy before making such announcements.

"I know people are fed up. I know people are excited for the terrasses to reopen. We are aware of that, but we must stay prudent," he said.

While a terrace is usually the English term used to describe patios or platforms next to buildings, "terrasse" is Quebec's colloquial word for any kind of outdoor dining or drinking area for restaurants, cafés and bars.

The health minister said the province will soon release its step-by-step plan to gradually scale back public health measures.

Rather than focusing on one restriction, like terrasses, he said municipal leaders should wait for the global reopening plan to be released.

However, Dubé declined to say when that plan will be ready.

He blamed Plante's urgency to reopen the city's beloved terrasses on the upcoming election.

"Mayor Plante isn't alone in the sense that many politicians are in an election year," said Dubé, noting that several politicians have been asking about the plan to reopen the economy.

Plante refuses to 'stay calm' in the face of distress

Plante fired back on Twitter shortly after the health minister's remarks. She said restaurateurs and bar owners have been suffering for a year.

"I will neither fold my arms, nor 'stay calm' in the face of their distress," she said.

Plante said her administration will be providing details on Friday about its plan to support the bar and restaurant industry "which is so important to Montreal."

"I think we have to hear the heartfelt cry of restaurateurs and bars that want to reopen," Plante said.

Plante said it is important to adapt to the public health situation, and it is fragile in Montreal at the moment.

Montreal public health director Dr. Mylène Drouin said last week that maintaining health measures is essential to keeping the situation under control.

"The success we are currently experiencing is due to this balance of measures," she told Radio-Canada.