To dance in Montreal

Last month, the owner of a nightclub sued the City of Berlin to challenge the closure imposed on his establishment due to the fight against COVID-19. As the German government imposed a health passport for public places, the Berlin court ruled that it was discriminatory to prevent nightclubs from operating. Thanks to this legal action, the legendary Berlin clubs are now running at full capacity, without masks or distancing.

Recently, following festive events bringing together more than 150,000 people in ten cities, the Netherlands became the last country in Europe to allow nightclubs to reopen.

Among the countries of Europe and North America, Quebec remains the only place to always prohibit indoor dancing. You can dance in Toronto, New York, Paris, London and Barcelona. We can dance everywhere… except at home! For a city like Montreal, which prides itself on having the party in its DNA, it is rather worrying that the health measures imposed by the Quebec government have paid so little attention to the place of dance in the cultural contribution of the city. metropolis to the nation.

Finally, it is not true: Montrealers have been dancing all summer. They danced outdoors, at festivals, of course, but they also danced in parks and on wasteland, often without permission. After 18 months, and with a vaccination rate of over 80% among those 18 and over, Montreal night owls no longer wait for their government’s approval to dance.

With the arrival of the cold season, Montreal is preparing to soon face a new epidemic: that of illegal festive gatherings taking place in hidden places where the health passport is not requested. It feels like the early 2000s, in the Red Light under Pax Plante in the era of speakeasies. Our city, our nation and our people deserve better than this.

Last May, the Government of Quebec granted $ 700,000 to our organization to support it in its mission to develop the city’s nightlife. However, a Montreal nightlife without dance will never be worth that of other Western metropolises, and the delay accumulated to this effect in the revival is already having a considerable economic impact on several venues and organizers of nightlife culture events.

Let’s take a look at Europe, where the resumption of festive activities this summer has shown that, although having sometimes facilitated outbreaks, dancing is not an activity contributing to the transmission of the virus in a more important way than work or study. Think of the 20-year-olds who have never had the chance to legally dance indoors since they became adults …

The Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, is right: we will have to “learn to live with the virus”, because we still have several years before eradicating it. As the period for reviewing health measures at the beginning of next month approaches, I am therefore calling on the government to encourage it to put in place fair and reasonable health measures allowing dancing, the reopening of nightclubs and the resumption of cultural events of a festive nature. Otherwise, Montreal night owls will have to learn from the lessons of their European cousins ​​and claim the freedom to dance by addressing the Court… or taking to the streets. Do we really need to get there?

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