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B.C. to crack down on nightclubs ignoring COVID-19 guidelines

Coronavirus cases linked to B.C. bars and nightclubs cause concern
Coronavirus cases linked to B.C. bars and nightclubs cause concern

The province says it will be cracking down on bars and nightclubs that do not follow COVID-19 guidelines.

Three clubs in Vancouver have reported exposures to COVID-19 and B.C.’s provincial health officer says WorkSafeBC will work to ensure those businesses are doing their part.

“We know there have been some exposure events at some nightclubs recently, so we will be making sure that those plans … are enforced,” Dr. Bonnie Henry told Global News.

Highlights from Global BC’s Facebook Live with Dr. Bonnie Henry
Highlights from Global BC’s Facebook Live with Dr. Bonnie Henry

Read more: Vancouver’s No5 Orange strip club closed temporarily after employee tests postive for COVID-19

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The No5 Orange strip club said Tuesday that a staff member had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The club was closed Monday and later reopened with the approval of Vancouver Coastal Health.

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Late last month, there was a possible exposure at the nightclub and bar inside the Hotel Belmont.

COVID-19 exposure at popular Vancouver strip club
COVID-19 exposure at popular Vancouver strip club

Brandi’s Show Lounge shut down for a few days in late June after several people tested positive for the novel coronavirus. At the time Henry said the strip club operated under the same type of event licence that would apply to a pub and expressed concern that Brandi’s was “skirting the rules in some ways.”

The club later reopened following a “thorough inspection and a complete review of all protocols by Vancouver Coastal Health,” according to the Brandi’s website.

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Read more: B.C. strip club linked to COVID-19 cases ‘skirting the rules in some ways’: Henry

Nightclubs are scheduled to reopen during the fourth and final phase of the province’s restart plan, which will occur when there is a wide distribution of a vaccine, community immunity, or broad successful treatments.

When asked about clubs last month, Henry said “nightclubs themselves are not open, they are still closed.”

Nanaimo nightclubs plan to reopen
Nanaimo nightclubs plan to reopen

“But some have been looking at repurposing to meet the guidance that we have for restaurants and events.”

On Tuesday, Henry reaffirmed that clubs are “only open as part of the pub and restaurant openings, so nightclubs themselves are not in this phase,” Henry said.

“They can have small events that have food, et cetera, and have limited numbers, and so that’s an important consideration.”

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— With files from Simon Little and Richard Zussman