Barrie strip club management feels industry targeted after province shuts them down
BARRIE, ONT. -- Premier Doug Ford announced Friday new rules for restaurants, bars, and strip clubs were necessary to fight a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Ford said the latest restrictions would help reduce transmission in high-risk businesses.
While restaurants and bars will now be required to close at midnight except for takeout and delivery and will have to stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m., strip clubs are forced to close.
Jordan Richardson, Crossovers Entertainment manager in Barrie, says he feels the strip club industry is being targeted.
"As far as I know, the only difference between us and a normal bar is the fact that we have dancers here, and there's a stigma about the strip club industry and that somehow it's dirty or something like that, but it's not," Richardson says.
Since reopening, only five or six dancers returned to the Dunlop Street club with about one-third of the clientele.
Richardson says they are following the rules tighter than any other bar with sanitizers in plain sight, cleanings after every performance and even private dances six-feet apart. "All our staff, including our dancers, are wearing masks at all times. We're following social distancing protocols as well," he says.
Meanwhile, Tiffs Restaurant and Bar owner Joe Malek says closing early is one thing, but a complete shut down would be another altogether.
"We can't even afford to shut down for two weeks. I can't do it," Malek says. "If it's going to happen, I'll make different decisions."
The new rules follow the province's decision last week to change limits on social gatherings, lowering the number of people permitted at outdoor events to 25 and indoor events to 10.