Deprived of their favorite pastime, club-goers have taken to the streets of Montreal, demanding the authorities lift the ban on dancing and singing in clubs – a verboten activity under Covid-19 rules.
A large crowd of people staged a dance party-slash-protest west of downtown Montreal on Saturday. The demonstrators, some of them wearing party costumes, held signs reading “open the dance floor” and “dance for the right to dance” as music blared from a loudspeaker.
Montreal’s nightlife crowd is gathering at Mount Royal for a dance party protest. They want the QC government to open clubs. Quebec is one of the last places in the world where nightclubs remain closed. pic.twitter.com/eeWicfiM1F
People in Montreal having a dance party in protest against the closure of dance floors across the province of Quebec. Happening now at Jeanne-Mance Park. Sign our Petition at https://t.co/R8agvdP7vLpic.twitter.com/0CQNjMfDbP
Thousands of people dancing in Montreal as they demand the opening of the dance floor. https://t.co/TLNTDAKxQapic.twitter.com/94HgYvPJDX
While Quebec eased many of the pandemic restrictions on indoor venues, and clubs and bars have been able to welcome visitors since summer, the ban on dancing and karaoke persists, prompting frustrated club owners and others to question the government’s logic. Critics of the ban point out that major concert venues have already been operating at full capacity, citing the example of the Bell Centre in Montreal, which hosted a show by pop stars Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias as recently as last week. It was estimated that 15,000 attended last Saturday.
Along with British Columbia, Quebec, where 75.32% of the people are fully vaccinated, remains the only other Canadian province where the seemingly innocuous activities remain off limits.
Club owners have been pushing for a reversal of the ban, arguing that the policy has given rise to an underground nightlife industry, where the mask mandate and other pandemic-related restrictions are ignored and people are free to dance and sing. One Montreal club owner told Global News Canada that he was prepared to put up with any restrictions imposed by the government, ranging from masks to vaccine passports, if given the green light to legally reopen.
“We’re OK with masks, we’re OK with passports, we’re OK with everything. We just want the right to open,” he said.
“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,” Mathiue Grondin, the co-founder and director of an industry advocacy group, told the outlet, denouncing the ban.
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