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Vancouver music venues plan for safe reopening after COVID-19 shutdown

Last Updated Jun 24, 2021 at 1:39 am PDT


One Vancouver venue operator favours COVID-19 vaccine passports, but the province likely won't require them

Phase 4 of B.C.'s reopening plan will mean no more mandatory masks, return to concerts

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –Will anyone entering a Vancouver club or a concert this fall have to wear a mask or prove they’re immunized against COVID-19? Those are some of the questions venue operators are considering when planning to reopen after a lengthy COVID-19-related shutdown.

Phase 4 of the province’s restart plan could start as early as Sept. 7. That phase will allow for “increased capacity on large organized gatherings,” including concerts, and masks will no longer be mandatory indoors. That has people who run venues in the city considering about what a safe reopening might look like.

The Rickshaw Theatre’s owner Mo Tarmohamed says customers may be asked to prove they’re vaccinated or at least honour a disclaimer acknowledging they could be exposed to the virus.

“Personally I would rather have some ability to show proof of vaccinations. But that’s something that apparently Dr. Bonnie Henry’s not in favour of, and I doubt whether the government of B.C. will go that route,” he says, adding lower case counts and higher vaccination rates recently have been reassuring.

“Given that we’ll be close to some sort of herd immunity by then, people will take educated risks whether they want to come to a show with the possibility of people not vaccinated.”


Tarmohamed says he has no plans to impose a mask mandate on concert-goers if the province doesn’t, although he says he understands that staff may want to mask up for the first little while.

He says he’s noticed a lot of pent-up demand among bands anxious to get back to touring, and audiences who are ready to rock.

“It’s been pretty overwhelming actually. As soon as that roadmap to opening was announced. I’ve been inundated with bands wanting to play,” he says.

“I think it’s it’s a perfect storm. And I think the first few months we’ll see, we’ll see shows that are really well attended, you know, shows that may not have been as well attended pre-pandemic.”

Although there is an option to reopen with limited capacity and mandatory masks before September, Tarmohamed says he’d rather wait until those restrictions are lifted.

“It just doesn’t make any sense for us to open up prior to that.”


Sasha Pocekovic, general manager of The Roxy, says they’re also opting to wait until Phase 4 so they can comply with government orders without compromising the enjoyment of club-goers.

“We are able to open July 1, but with restrictions. We feel that for everyone — for our customers and staff, first-timers, return customers —  they need to have the authentic Roxy experience,” he says.

“People need to mingle they need to dance.”

Pocekovic says he and his staff are just happy there’s an end to the shutdown in sight.

“Our house band is ready to go and been rehearsing. We’re renovated. Everyone is just so excited to get back to work –normality. We’re stoked,” he says.

“The light is at the end of the tunnel we can, we can see it. There is a date and we’re looking forward to it.”