Quebec is relaxing COVID 19 restrictions, but dancing still off limits in clubs

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For Montreal DJ Marc-Andre Petrie, there’s no point in performing if people can’t dance.

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“I wouldn’t go to a museum for an exhibition and look at a piece of art on the wall if it was 80 percent covered. I feel the same way with music, especially the music I play,” He said in a recent interview.

Over the years, Patry has hosted a monthly event in nightclubs called Voyage Funtastic. The COVID-19 pandemic put it off, but this summer Patry was able to take the party outside. With the weather getting colder and Quebec’s COVID-19 regulations still prohibiting dancing in bars, Patri plans to put away her turntables.

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“If people can’t dance to that music, I won’t do anything,” he said.

Quebec and British Columbia are the only two provinces that ban dancing in bars and nightclubs as part of their COVID-19 rules. As Quebec eases other pandemic restrictions, nightclub owners, DJs and people wanting to dance say they do not understand why it is banned.

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Many people, including organizers of a protest in Montreal on Saturday, say they support the province’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, but believe the dances in those places Can resume safely where the vaccine passport of the province is required. .

It’s all about fairness, as Tommy Piscardelli, owner of Montreal nightclub Stereo, said for him. Their venue – which does not serve alcohol and has a permit that allows it to be open after Quebec’s 3 a.m. closing time – has been closed since the start of the pandemic.

His frustration was further compounded by videos of thousands of Ricky Martin fans dancing at a recent concert at Montreal’s Bell Center. He said it doesn’t make sense that 17,000 people can be in the “shouting, dancing, shouting, singing” zone when 500 people can’t in his club.

“They might not be screaming, screaming, losing their minds,” he said. “It must be dancing.”

Piscardelli said that without legal places to dance, people are now going to underground parties where vaccine passports and other public safety measures are not being implemented. Allowing dance, he said, would “bring people back to places that really have all the protocols in place, that’s going to check vaccine passports, they’re going to do all the things they’re going to ask us to do.” are,” he said.

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Matthew Grondin, co-founder and general director of MTL 24/24, a non-profit organization that advocates for the city’s nightlife sector, said he wants to reopen the dance floor as a “harm reduction” initiative Sees, which connects the places that are violating the COVID. -19 measures are also likely to violate other health and safety regulations.

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

The cultural influence goes beyond nightlife, said Laurian Lalonde, who often clubbed salsa and samba before the pandemic.

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

The Department of Health is taking a gradual approach to relaxing COVID-19 restrictions guided by case numbers, spokeswoman Mary-Louise Harvey wrote in an email. While she said that the department is aware of calls for permission to dance, it is too early to say when that might happen.

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“Discussions are on with respect to adjustment of various health measures. An announcement will be made in due course, depending on the epidemiological situation,” she wrote.

An immunologist at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute affiliated with the Université de Montréal, Dr. Andre Vilet said he thinks dancing should be one of the last activities to resume.

“Usually when people dance they breathe fast, they talk to the people around them, people are very close. They are not two meters apart, they are sometimes two centimeters apart,” he said in a recent interview, adding that people may shout to hear because the music is louder. He also concerns ventilation in bars and nightclubs.

“It’s the right combination to cause a lot of trouble,” he said.

Even with the vaccine passport in place, Vilet thinks it’s too risky to allow the dance until the number of COVID-19 cases in Quebec drops significantly.

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“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.”

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