VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Author and musician Aaron Chapman isn’t looking to write a second book about the loss of live nighttime entertainment in Vancouver and wants to hear what provincial leaders are willing to do to help an industry shuttered by COVID-19.
Chapman’s book Vancouver After Dark looks back at some of the city’s most popular music entertainment venues, from Luv-A-Fair to the Town Pump, that have disappeared over the years. He fears more could follow, as those who work in B.C.’s so-called nighttime economy are feeling left out during the election campaign.
“And I don’t think the general public has a great awareness of it — certainly the people who work in the industry do — but we’re going to end up with a very empty province if all these places are gone, thanks to this, if the government makes no consideration at all for these businesses in the coming future,” he added.
Chapman suggests live entertainment venues have taken a back seat to the tourism and hospitality sectors during the pandemic.
While I've heard candidates note the BC tourism has been hit by the pandemic and solutions. Have the @bcliberals, @bcndp or @BCGreens had a single word about the problems live theatre, live music clubs, and cinemas are dealing with. Anyone? #BCpoli #BCElection2020 #BCVotes
— Aaron Chapman (@TheAaronChapman) October 19, 2020
“You know, while the tourism industry has been mentioned, even the hospitality industry in some of the debates, I’m just surprised that the arts and culture industry, in this way, hasn’t been mentioned at all.”
The province ordered nightclubs and banquet halls to close until further notice as COVID-19 cases surged earlier last month.
“Right now I’m just looking for anything. The fact that the industry has not been mentioned at all, by any of the candidates or any of the leaders, is worrying. People like me, who are ready, willing, and eager to vote have been left wondering, ‘Who should I really vote for? Who’s the best person who understands my world?'”
Chapman warns there won’t be much of an industry left after the pandemic if action isn’t taken now.
On Tuesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, after declaring a second wave in B.C., credited her order to close nightclubs and banquet halls for helping to limit transmission of the virus.
She added closed environments where large groups of people are in close contact with one another, combined with poor ventilation made the job of contract tracing difficult.
“And we’ve seen that, we’ve seen that in workplaces, we’ve seen that in nightclubs, for example, where we had a spread between large larger numbers of people and it made our work in contact tracing very difficult, because you didn’t always know those people, and we would find that it was a challenge to understand exactly who was in that nightclub at that period of time and who you might have come in contact with and then to connect with them.”