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Party bus rider disputes claim group heading to Vancouver's Hotel Belmont

Last Updated Aug 10, 2020 at 6:44 pm PDT

FILE - (Courtesy Facebook/hotelbelmontvancouver)
Summary

A rider on the now-infamous party bus is challenging claims from one manager at the Hotel Belmont

Patrick McWilliams says the group was smaller than the manager said and they were simply dropped off outside the bar

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — One party bus rider is refuting claims from a manager of a Vancouver hotel bar that turned his group away over COVID-19 concerns on Saturday.

Patrick McWilliams says he and a group of 12 to 14 people – not 20 as previously suggested – rented the party bus for a pair of birthdays, and made their way in from Langley to Vancouver for a night out. McWilliams says no one from his group was rude or shocked as the manager of the Hotel Belmont has claimed when they were apparently denied entry.

“The tweet and the comments he made were just not what happened at all,” McWilliams says.

He explains the group had no intention of partying in the hotel bar, they were simply dropped off there.

“The plan from the get-go was already to break into smaller groups. So I think once we got off the bus, we broke into a couple of groups of four, or maybe one group of six,” he says, adding he believes someone from the bus might have asked to use the bathroom at the Belmont.

While not denying their rejection from the Belmont, McWilliams says they were aware of COVID-19 protocols, which is why they split up into smaller groups through their night.

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He says their groups were openly welcomed in at least two other bars on Saturday night.

“Both the faculty and the managers that met with us said we were more than compliant, there were no disagreements.”

Since the group was making its way downtown from the Fraser Valley, McWilliams says the party bus was a cheaper means of transportation compared to taxis.

“Logically, it made sense,” he says of the booking.

But he tells NEWS 1130 he understands people might look down on a group of 14 going out together.

“Maybe it’s not the smartest thing, I’ll be the first one to admit that,” McWilliams says, but suggests the group was being as safe as they could be in the situation.

He adds several of the people on the bus, including himself, tested negative for the coronavirus.

Last month, Vancouver Coastal Health warned of possible exposure to the virus at the hotel’s bar and nightclub.

-With files from Marcella Bernardo