WINNIPEG — It’s been almost a week since the province implemented new health restrictions in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Some businesses are required to close their doors for a minimum of two weeks, but only businesses that have an entertainment facility liquor license.
Allen Morrison, the owner of Club 200 on Garry Street, has kept the front door closed all week.
Now he’s asking why such a small number of establishments are being targeted.
“The only license that was left that wasn’t allowed to open was mine, an entertainment facility,” said Morrison. “Myself and 14 other licenses in the province out of 2,100.”
On Monday, the PC Government announced that businesses with an entertainment facility liquor license needed to close to members of the public, except for takeout food.
Initially, the province said all beverage rooms, bingo halls, casinos, and event centres would be required to close, but by Monday, the province had amended the order to only include entertainment facilities.
Morrison said he’s supported all the health regulations up to this point, but he wants his business to be held up to the same standard as others.
“How do I pose any greater threat than any of the other five businesses on my street [when] two of them have had positive tests?” said Morrison.
“I’d like somebody to answer me that question, why am I sacrificing and why my staff are sacrificing?”
Christopher Graves, the owner of King’s Head Pub, had to close his doors and start up a takeout food service so his staff could keep working.
He doesn’t believe that shutting down such a small number of businesses will help flatten the curve.
“Other places out there that have had multiple infractions and repeat offenders, and they’re allowed to continue to stay open? That doesn’t make any sense to us,” said Graves.
In a statement to CTV News, the Province of Manitoba said:
“After further review and consultation, it became apparent that the sector has evolved beyond the current liquor categories that have not been significantly updated in decades. Liquor license categories were designed to be tools for liquor enforcement, not a public health response.”
“Our commitment has always been to take the least amount of restrictions for the greatest public health benefit.”
The Province said because many beverage rooms were operating like restaurants, it was determined that a closure of those types of businesses would not be required at this time.
Morrison said Club 200 is one of the very few places where people from the 2SLGBTQ+ community can go to feel safe, and aside from Fame Night Club, it’s the only 2SLGBTQ+ space from Regina to Toronto.
“Allow us the same opportunity to earn a living, to keep our doors open, and to keep our staff working that they’ve afforded every other license in this city.”
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