Toronto: Brass Rail Tavern

Strip club employee may have exposed about 550 people to Covid-19

Potential exposure took place just days after the Brass Rail Tavern, one of the city’s best-known strip clubs, was allowed to re-open


Health officials in the Canadian city of Toronto have warned that as many as 550 people may have been exposed to the coronavirus at a downtown strip club after an employee tested positive for the virus. The potential exposure took place just days after the Brass Rail Tavern, one of the city’s best-known strip clubs, was allowed to re-open. The employee worked four shifts in early August, the city said in a statement, without detailing the capacity in which the employee worked.

Health officials said they had reached out to the clients that had left their details in the establishment’s contact tracing log, urging them to monitor for any symptoms of Covid-19. Public health experts, however, questioned how many patrons would have handed over legitimate contact information.

“You know how long it’s going to take them to chase down 550 guys, half of which probably gave fake ID or information,” Andrew Morris, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Toronto told the Associated Press.

Toronto health officials suggested their initial investigation found the club to be lacking when it came to following the required protocols, which include distancing between staff and customers and the use of a plexiglass shield when this is not possible.

Ontario’s premier weighed in on Friday. “There are 500 people – you’ve got to practice social distancing, you’ve got to put on a mask – I know it sounds ironic talking about that – you have to,” Doug Ford told reporters.

His thoughts soon turned to the strain the news could take on relationships. “I feel sorry for people when they go to their house and tell them that they were at the Brass Rail,” he quipped. “That’s who I feel sorry for. Sorry for the spouse, seriously. Man, I wouldn’t want to be on the end of that one.”

Others questioned the decision to allow such establishments to open as the province grapples with a pandemic that has seen more than 40,000 people test positive to-date. “Why are strip clubs open before schools can safely open? Are these the right priorities?” Ontario doctor Jennifer Kwan wrote on Twitter.

The city said the club was cooperating with orders to put in place measures to prevent the spread of infections, such as ensuring staff and patrons wear masks and practice physical distancing.

The Brass Rail did not respond to a request for comment. But the Toronto Star noted that the club had posted a message on its front door. “During this time, we are continuing operations while upholding the highest possible hygiene standards with our staff,” it read. “This is our main priority while we provide our guests with the hospitality and customer service that they have become accustomed to.”

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