Regina nightclub worried COVID-19 restrictions will hurt business
A sign on the door at the Lot Club urges patrons to wear a mask.
Inside, the dance floor has been closed since March and physical distancing is encouraged.
Owner Deepansh Mohan says he’s been doing what he can to keep people coming to his club safe.
"When people are drunk in the middle of the night, it’s hard to control them," he said.
Outbreaks at three Saskatoon night clubs have led to new restrictions being placed on clubs in that city. It has also meant tighter restrictions for night clubs across the province.
Mohan said he worries the restrictions will put a strain on his business, which employs up to 15 people.
"You can’t have people on the dance floor, you can’t have people walking, you can’t have people waiting outside, so it’s very tough right now," he said.
Starting Friday, all night clubs in Saskatchewan are required to only have six patrons per table, discourage mingling and encourage physical distancing. Karaoke and dance floors are also prohibited.
In Saskatoon, night clubs are also prohibited from serving alcohol after 10 p.m. and must be closed by 11 p.m.
Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer believe people can still head out for a night on the town, but need to do it safely.
"You can go to bars and restaurants, but you have to follow the guidelines and as long as we do that, we hope we can keep transmission events to as low as possible," Dr. Saqib Shahab said.
Mohan is concerned the time restrictions could also be on their way to the Queen City soon enough.
"Night clubs start at ten, but if you’re shutting down night clubs at ten, that means night clubs shouldn’t be open anymore, nobody goes to a night club at five or six in the evening," he said.
Mohan has considered changing the club into a sports bar and restaurant.
"If the rules are getting tighter and tighter, there’s no point of investing that money and then just having the club running until ten o’clock," Mohan said.
He is meeting with health officials to see what staying open might look like for the club, but he says the safest option might just be to close until the pandemic passes.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said he doesn't think businesses that are following the public health order should be forced to shut down because of an outbreak in a similar businesses in another region of the province.
"Those following the rules shouldn't be harmed, especially on business owners and people," Fougere said.
"It doesn't make sense to shut down specific businesses or places of worship that are following the rules, or rather than the entire sector or category or a vast majority of people in businesses that are actually following those rules and operating safely."
Fougere said most businesses and people in Saskatchewan are following the public health order and that has led to the province not seeing as high case numbers that other parts of Canada are seeing.
"We are seeing a difficult time right now, but we are not as effected as other parts of Canada," Fougere said. "Just because I think people mostly are disciplined and their activities, business are disciplined in how they have consumers and customers into their businesses so very important we continue on in this regard."