You might've noticed that Pizzeria Moretti in Griffintown has closed its physical space to customers, reducing its operations to takeout-only. The popular pizza restaurant's liquor license was recently suspended due to alleged COVID-19 related infractions — and now a manager is speaking out to say it isn't fair. 

In an email, a spokesperson for the SPVM told MTL Blog that the pizzeria's liquor license was suspended after police "received complaints from citizens and having noted violations of health regulations."

Gianni Caruso, one of the restaurant's managers, said police cited employees violating social distancing and mask regulations, as well as several violent incidents that occurred at the establishment in the last few months.

Complaints from the clientele, he said, stated that employees did not wear masks, that it was overcrowded, that they were not respecting two-metre distancing and barriers, and that management was handling the situation casually. 

Some testimonies also said that employees who contracted the coronavirus still came to work, Caruso told MTL Blog. 

But the restaurant's manager claims the SPVM used a singular violent incident as justification for their investigation.

"They used that as an excuse," said Caruso.

"That’s totally untrue. The only incident that happened [was] two girls slapping each other and two guys got into a bit of a scrap."

Caruso told MTL Blog that only one of the restaurant’s staffers tested positive for COVID-19 almost two months ago, but was asymptomatic.

The employee quarantined for 14 days, he claimed, as mandated by the coronavirus protocol.

Caruso admitted to the possibility that plexiglass barriers separating customers and tables may not have followed the government's two-metre mandate.

He also told us there were issues with late reservations, where some customers would arrive after their table had been given to other customers.

"[If there were] any restaurants that were very serious and followed the protocol, it was us . . . This is pure discrimination," Caruso said, though he admitted the customers might not have always been as vigilant.

"After two glasses of wine, maybe there could [have been] a bit of negligence" on the part of the customers, he said.

"It's hard times for everybody," Caruso said. 

"You gotta swallow the pill and that’s all. But I think it was totally unfair."

The 45-day suspension period ends October 8. 

Caruso said the restaurant is planning on implementing a doorman to limit any violent incidents and ensure customers are following coronavirus protocols. 

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