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Comedy clubs safer than restaurants, argues owner frustrated by COVID-19 closure

Last Updated Feb 17, 2021 at 6:45 am PST


A comedy club owner in New West doesn't understand why bars, restaurants are open while he is shut down

Dr. Bonnie Henry admits we need a laugh, but she says it doesn't have to be at a comedy club

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) – A New Westminster comedy club owner isn’t in a laughing mood as the seats in his theatre remain empty despite bars and restaurants continuing to welcome customers.

Rick Bronson opened House of Comedy on Jan. 1, 2020 and admits the unfortunate timing feels like a bit of a joke of its own.

After a few months of being open, the club was shutdown along with the rest of the province due to COVID-19. But after some industries have opened up, Bronson continues to see dust on the seats

“If you are sitting at a restaurant or if you or I are out together, we are going to be conversing, we are going to be face to face not wearing masks. We are eating, drinking, talking, whereas, in a comedy club scenario, everyone is facing the same direction, they are facing the stage, no one is up moving around. It’s not like they are going to say, ‘Hi,’ to their friends at the other table because that’s not the nature of a performance,” he tells CityNews.

“To me, it is blatantly obvious that it’s safer to be in a comedy club.”

However, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry isn’t cracking up when it comes to allowing places like Bronson’s to reopen.

“We could all use a laugh we could all use some joy in our life every day but it doesn’t mean we have to go to a comedy club,” she said Tuesday during the COVID-19 briefing.

“We have seen where people think they are doing okay and it’s just a little stretch and we are not really breaking the rules too much, that we see spread of this virus. And it gets into our communities, and it gets transmitted into our workplaces, school, and we see people ending up in hospital.”

RELATED: Community transmission linked to numerous COVID-19 exposures in schools, says B.C.’s top doctor

Bronson says being a new business, with no 2019 financial records, the comedy club doesn’t qualify for any of the current provincial grants, and he worries about surviving the shutdown.

But he maintains B.C. needs a laugh now more than ever.

“I don’t think I can reiterate enough the medical benefits of laughter and how it does heal,” Bronson says.