Nightlife returns to Granville strip, with some changes
VANCOUVER -- Granville Street's entertainment strip returned to almost pre-pandemic scenes Saturday night as some nightclubs reopened their doors to customers.
Large crowds were seen converging in the streets, with many expressing no concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m not too worried about it, I’ve seen the numbers there’s 2,700 infected in B.C., B.C.’s a pretty big place so I’m not really too concerned,” Sam Prada told CTV News.
Nightclubs were set to be part of Phase 4 of B.C.’s reopening plan, contingent upon an effective treatment, vaccine or community immunity to COVID-19.
Instead, industry representatives say, venue owners have changed the setups inside their facilities to make them safe.
“Those dancefloors are going to become increasingly covered with tables and chairs and couches, converted to more of a lounge type experience,” said Jeff Guinard, executive director at Alliance of Beverage Licensees BC. “No one is going to be allowed to congregate on a dancefloor the way you could pre-COVID. That’s off the table right now and no bars are running like that either.”
With dancefloors gone and customers relegated to tables, nightclubs can technically operate under the same guidelines as restaurants and bars.
Yanni Priskos is the owner Studio Nightclub. He says the venue is only taking reservations and tables are spaced three metres apart, instead of two.
“It’s our first night and we’re basically trying to implement all the orders from the health department,” Priskos said Saturday. “We have our regulations in place. We’re not letting them move from the sections that they are assigned to in the club. So, I’m not sure if they are really happy about that, but time will show.”
At one point, the Hospitality Vancouver Association predicted 90 per cent of Vancouver's nightlife businesses were at risk of closing their doors for good.
Guinard says many will still go under, but at least now more have a chance of surviving.
“Ten per cent of your favourite pubs and bars are already gone. They are not coming back,” he said. “Of those remaining, about two thirds of them are not making money, and in the long term, 50 per cent of them could be gone aswell.”
Guinard says it’s in everyone’s interest for venues to strictly adhere to safety guidelines to ensure there is no spread of COVID-19, adding that owners and staff can’t afford another shutdown, either financially or emotionally.