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B.C. not considering closing nightclubs, strip clubs after positive COVID-19 cases: health minister

FILE - Vancouver Coastal Health Authority has warned of possible COVID-19 exposure at the No5 Orange show lounge in Vancouver. (Courtesy No5 Orange/Facebook)

Health Minister Adrian Dix is resisting calls to reconsider allowing nightclubs, strip clubs to reopen

The hospitality sector is concerned about the threat of coronavirus, says Dix

Health minister left open the possibility that rules around establishments could be tightened

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Health Minister Adrian Dix is resisting calls to go back on the province’s decision to allow strip clubs and nightclubs to reopen, despite possible COVID-19 exposures at three establishments in Vancouver.

He said public health officials are constantly considering whether the reopening rules need to be tightened for businesses, but there are no current plans to do so.

“Yes, public health is reviewing those to make sure that the rules are, both, being followed, in these cases, systematically, and secondly, whether adjustments need to be made, including more severe adjustments,” Dix said.

The Hotel Belmont, Brandi’s Exotic Show Lounge and the No5 Orange have all reported coronavirus cases since the province relaxed restrictions to allow more businesses to reopen as part of its pandemic reopening plan.

An expanded COVID-19 notification was issued by Vancouver Coastal Health Wednesday for the No5 Orange for anyone who visited the show lounge July 1, 3, 4 or 7 as they may have been exposed to the virus and are being advised to monitor themselves for any symptoms.

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Dix added the hospitality sector is concerned about the threat of coronavirus, knowing the financial consequences of having it spread through more establishments.

“I would say, in general, this sector is very concerned and very organized to be concerned about following the rules, because they know the consequences for them, as a sector, of a lack of public confidence, and for them as a sector, of them not following the rules.”

Dix left open the possibility that rules around such establishments could be tightened, along with more enforcement.

“People have to follow the rules, and it’s our expectation that they do,” Dix said. “As a sector, broadly, that is understood, so it would be, certainly, our preferences not to take a sector-wide response.”

In a statement Wednesday, Dix, along with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, said public alerts and the temporary closure of businesses are some of the ways public health teams are working to effectively manage the spread of COVID-19.