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Vancouver bus party passengers say they followed COVID-19 guidelines, don’t deserve criticism

Click to play video: 'Vancouver party bus passengers have a different story to tell' Vancouver party bus passengers have a different story to tell
Passengers on a party bus who were criticized by staff at a Vancouver bar are responding, and say they followed all the rules to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Aaron McArthur reports – Aug 11, 2020

Passengers on a party bus who were criticized by staff at a Vancouver bar last weekend are responding to the claims from a bar manager who said they were not following COVID-19 guidelines.

“It’s become quite infamous actually,” passenger Patrick McWilliams told Global News Tuesday. “It’s kind of mind-blowing.”

McWilliams was one of 12 people who hired a party bus from Langley last Saturday night to go downtown for some birthday celebrations.

“It was a group of friends, that since we entered Stage 3 over the last month or so, we’re all pretty close-knit and we’ve mingled a bit with each other but it was two of our friends’ birthdays so we kind of just mashed it all into one,” he said.

McWilliams said the cost of taking a cab from Langley to downtown Vancouver is about $250 each way.

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So he said it made sense to get a party bus for about $500 and they could socially distance inside.

Click to play video: 'Pandemic partying: Vancouver bar refuses to serve packed party bus' Pandemic partying: Vancouver bar refuses to serve packed party bus
Pandemic partying: Vancouver bar refuses to serve packed party bus – Aug 9, 2020

Don Falconer, who manages the Living Room Bar at the Hotel Belmont on Granville Street, was working on Saturday night when he says a party bus pulled up outside and 25 people got out.

“It was like a clown car, they just kept coming and kept coming,” he told Global News Sunday.

Falconer said they had to turn the group away.

Read more: Coronavirus: Vancouver bar manager says he turned away party bus with dozens onboard

But McWilliams says that was not the case.

“So it just so happened that we get dropped off at the Belmont and this Don guy is trying to paint himself as a hero now but from what I recall, a girl tried to use the bathroom there, it was never the plan to actually attend the Belmont,” he explained.

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The group ended up visiting a few different establishments downtown on Saturday but McWilliams said they always followed the rules of each establishment and sat at tables of no more than six people.

In B.C., under new rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no more than six people are allowed at a table in a restaurant or bar and there must be six feet between tables. There can be no mingling and patrons are only allowed to leave their seats to go to the bathroom.

“We’re up here in Stage 3, the last that I checked, there’s rules in place, as long as you’re following those rules, that’s what they’re there for,” McWilliams added.

— With files from Aaron McArthur

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