Home Quebec music Quebec eases COVID-19 restrictions, but dance floors remain empty

Quebec eases COVID-19 restrictions, but dance floors remain empty


Quebec and British Columbia are the only two provinces that continue to ban dancing in bars and nightclubs under their COVID-19 regulations. As Quebec relaxes other restrictions linked to the pandemic, nightclub owners, DJs and people eager to dance say they don’t understand why it remains banned.

Many, including the organizers of a protest scheduled to take place in Montreal on Saturday, say they support the province’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, but they believe the dancing can pick up again. security in places where the provincial vaccination passport is required.

Tommy Piscardeli, the owner of the Montreal Stereo nightclub, said for him, it’s a matter of fairness. His establishment – which does not serve alcohol and has a permit allowing it to remain open after the closing time of 3 a.m. in Quebec City – has been closed since the start of the pandemic.

To add to his frustration, he saw videos of thousands of Ricky Martin fans dancing at a recent concert at the Bell Center in Montreal. He said it didn’t make sense that 17,000 people could be in a “shout, dance, shout, sing” arena when he couldn’t have 500 people in his club.

“They wouldn’t scream, shout, lose their minds,” he said. “It would be dancing.”

Piscardeli said without legal places to dance, people now go to underground parties where vaccine passports and other public safety measures are not enforced. Allowing the dance “would bring people back to places that have all the protocols in place, that are going to check vaccine passports, are going to do whatever they ask us to do,” he said.

Mathieu Grondin, co-founder and CEO of MTL 24/24, a nonprofit that advocates for the city’s nightlife sector, said he sees the reopening of the dance floors as an initiative to “reduce misdeeds , adding that places that flout COVID -19 measures are also likely to violate other health and safety rules.

“Montreal is one of the last cities in the world where we still can’t dance, and we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world for adults. Dance floors have reopened all over Europe, all over North America, ”he said, adding that 20 percent of tourists to Montreal come for the city’s nightlife.

The cultural impact goes beyond the nightlife, said Laurianne Lalonde, who frequented salsa and samba clubs before the pandemic.

Lalonde, who started an online petition calling for the reopening of dance floors that received 5,000 virtual signatures, said the places she frequented attracted people from several generations. “It’s not just about nightclubs, it’s also about these communities, these people who share their identity or their cultural identity through dance, she said.

The Department of Health is taking a phased approach to ease COVID-19 restrictions driven by the number of cases, spokeswoman Marie-Louise Harvey wrote in an email. Although she said the department is aware of the calls for the dancing to be allowed, it is too early to say when this could happen.

“Discussions are underway regarding the adjustment of the various health measures. Announcements will be made in due course, depending on the epidemiological situation, ”she wrote.

Dr André Veillette, an immunologist at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute, affiliated with the University of Montreal, said he believes dancing should be one of the last activities to resume.

“Usually when people dance they breathe faster, they talk to people around them, people are very close. They are not two meters apart, sometimes they are two centimeters apart, ”he said in a recent interview, adding that people can scream to be heard because the music is loud. He is also concerned about the ventilation in bars and nightclubs.

“He’s got the right mix to cause a lot of problems,” he said.

Even with vaccine passports, Veillette thinks allowing dancing is too risky until the number of COVID-19 cases in Quebec drops dramatically.

“I think we’ll get there, we just have to avoid going too fast,” he said. “Every time we tried to go a little faster, we got hurt.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 22, 2021.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press


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