Blue Grotto owner says at least eight cases of COVID-19 are linked to October 14 nightclub concert


David “Pup” Johnston decided to raise awareness among the public and customers about a possible exhibit through a post on the Cave’s Facebook page.

The owner of the Blue Grotto nightclub in downtown Kamloops said he heard a number of people who attended a recent show say they tested positive for COVID-19.

David “Pup” Johnston said he was now considering his next step and awaiting information from Interior Health – and hoping the transmission of the virus had stopped.

The show, which featured bands Belvedere, Blacked Out and Let’s Go, took place on Thursday, October 14. Cases appear to have emerged despite adherence to health guidelines, including door-to-door verification of proof of vaccination, following capacity restrictions. , adhering to the mask’s mandate and having customers seated at their tables.

As of October 20, Johnston said he believed there had been at least eight cases of COVID-19 linked to the event, which had brought together 51 people, plus 13 group members and five employees.

Johnston himself had just returned from a COVID-19 test when KTW contacted him on Wednesday to inquire about the cases and the nightclub’s voluntary disclosure. Other staff working at the club are also tested.

“I got a call late last night asking if I had heard of any cases from the Belvedere show,” Johnston said. “” And then I got another call an hour later asking for the same. And I said, ‘Yeah, now I have it.’ “

Johnston said the building was only occupied for about four hours in total on the night of the show.

After receiving several calls on Tuesday evening, Johnston said he was unsure of what to do, but ultimately decided to educate the public and customers about a possible exhibit through a post on the cave’s Facebook page.

He said he had trouble sleeping that night.

“Honestly, I felt like the captain of the Titanic, saying, ‘Hey, we didn’t hit an iceberg. “I didn’t want to be that guy,” he said.

Johnston published the message early in the morning the next morning.

What might help, in this case, is how close the local fan communities and other punk bands are to each other.

“People contact me before that. It blows my mind. The love these people have for each other in this community is breathtaking,” said Johnston, acknowledging how supportive people have been.

British Columbia’s vaccination passport system only requires that clients – and not staff or other workers – be vaccinated to enter various non-essential locations, such as the Blue Grotto. Currently, only one dose is required to enter sites like the Grotto, but as of October 20, 83.6 percent of all British Columbians had received two doses.

Johnston, who said he was unaware of the severity of the illnesses among those who tested positive, said he encouraged vaccination among his staff and said they understood the risks and benefits involved.

“It’s a bigger epidemic than in some nursing homes. We are vulnerable. Most of the punks are now my age, 55,” he said.

Johnston said despite preparations for such an event, he was still surprised by the cases, which occurred that night with capacity still below the 50% maximum allowed and despite adherence to all health guidelines.

For Johnston, his biggest concern is that people have introduced COVID-19 into the community.

“I just don’t want to be zero. Opening the doors and making money is secondary to all of this. We don’t make money anyway, with half capacity,” he said. declared.

Johnston said he was awaiting a response from Interior Health regarding his upcoming move and club operations in the near future.

Interior Health has not declared an outbreak in the Grotto cases. People at risk will be contacted by health authorities through contact tracing. A list of public exhibitions can be found here.

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