Nightclubs in Waterloo Region reopen amid concerns about dance floor COVID-19 safety
WATERLOO -- With nightclubs in Waterloo Region and across the province allowed to reopen, there are concerns dancing the night away might be too much, too soon amid the COVID-19 pandemic lingers.
Under Step 3 of the province's reopening framework, establishments with dancefloors can operate with capacity limits. Patrons must maintain physical distancing at all times and wear a mask.
"With increased transmissions of bodily fluids, whether its sweat or close contact, you're risking the transmission of the virus would be higher," said Ahmad Firas Khalid, a health policy expert at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Friday night, Dallas Nightclub in Kitchener welcomed back country music fans. The club did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but a former DJ there says safety protocols are top of mind for anyone working in clubs.
"The hardest part now is getting people to continue following them," said local DJ Garrett Stilling. "People haven't seen each other in a while and now you get alcohol involved."
Khalid says as people drink more, their decision capacity is lowered.
"Their ability to continue to social distance, to continue wearing the face mask when they feel like they're too close to others, might not be there," he said.
In Waterloo, Prohibition Warehouse is continuing a pause on their Friday and Saturday parties.
Supervisor Rachel Ragbir says the establishment is looking forward to a return of dancing.
"From 10 p.m. until 2 in the morning, we were crazy. We miss it," she said. "We're just concerned about safety and being understaffed."
Some locals say clubbing is too much of a risk right now.
"I don't think people will be distancing, people go to clubs to dance with each other closely," said one local resident.
"Even if you have the best intentions, like after a few drinks sometimes that goes out the window if you're just having a good time," said another resident.