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Hotel Belmont manager stops large group of party bus riders from entering bar

Last Updated Aug 9, 2020 at 5:36 pm PDT

Summary

A large group of people pouring out of a party bus were shocked & angry when they weren’t granted entry to a local bar

A Hotel Belmont manager says this was the most egregious incident he’s encountered since the beginning of the pandemic

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As bars, clubs, hotels and restaurants in the province have been adjusting their business model to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19, a worker at Vancouver’s Hotel Belmont says he wished customers would be more supportive of the rules and regulations.

Don Falconer, who is the general manager of food and beverage, says he was working at the hotel and nightclub around 11:00 p.m. Saturday when a party bus pulled up.

Falconer explains all of the managers got together and said if more than six people get off, “then we’re not gonna let any of them in.”

“And lo and behold 20 to 25 people come pouring off the bus,” Falconer tells NEWS 1130.

“They walked up they wanted to come inside and when we told them ‘no’ it was like the first time anyone had told them anything about there was a global pandemic going on.”

While there was no back and forth, according to Falconer, the group asked why they were being rejected and seemed to be angry and shocked.

“We just said because there’s a global pandemic going on and there’s rules that are supposed to be followed. You guys are obviously not following them so you’re not coming in.”

Eventually, the group asked for the closest liquor store and Falconer and his co-workers directed them.

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Falconer says this is not the first time a group has been rejected, adding he’s had groups of 12 to 15 people trying to get in in the past.

“[groups are] not happy when they have to be split into two or three tables and told that they’re not allowed to table hop or mingle with each other when they come inside,” he explains.

“I think people just need to understand that if we’re all going to get through this together, every bar and restaurant operator that I know is working really hard to keep their staff safe and keep their customers safe. And still be able to operate their business in some sort of a profitable way.
But it’s tough when the biggest challenge that you have is customers who have quite a few drinks, trying to see how they can get around the rules that Dr. [Bonnie] Henry has put into play.”

Falconer adds he hopes that other businesses are complying with COVID health and safety regulations.

Since the pandemic, Falconer explains the business model for the Hotel Belmont has changed to combat the impacts of the virus.

We were a nightclub prior to all of this stuff happening and now we’ve had to change to be you know we’re focused on being a sports bar and having Canucks games, Raptors games and Blue Jays games and all that kind of stuff. And then we’brought in a new chef, we’re going to hold dinner program.”

Last month, Vancouver Coastal Health reported people at the hotel’s bar and nightclub tested positive for the coronavirus.

– With files from Monika Gul and Bethlehem Mariam