Many states are entering new phases of lowered restrictions on social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an attempt to restart a shuttered economy and get lives back to some semblance of normalcy. Though the threat of the virus is still very real and a second wave is all but inevitable, many establishments are taking social distancing guidelines into their own hands and creating their own rules.
Last week, Gilt Nightclub in Orlando opened for a show with Dirt Monkey at half capacity. Though the venue issued clear instructions on masks, social distancing, and cleanliness, photos and videos of the event show very little adherence to them, and likely little to no enforcement.
Shortly after the event, alleged cases of COVID stemming from the event spread through social media, with Gilt responding about a forged lab report.
Now, two days after the post about the forged report, Gilt has shared that three of its staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
The health report states, “In our effort to keep our guests and employees ssafe, we are continuing to test our employees weekly. For our second week of testing, out of 75+ employees, three tested positive. They were immediately removed from the schedule and instructed to quarantine according to CDC guidelines. We will continue to inform the public of our weekly test results every Monday until further notice.”
The willingness of the club to continue even after, yes only three, staff tested positive for the virus is a bewildering one. What if three more test positive next week? And the week after? What is the threshold for when they finally say, “Yeah, we probably shouldn’t be doing this.”
It’s impossible to know how many people those three staff came into contact with and possibly spread the virus to — even the “forged” lab report may have other very real implications attached to it.
At the same time, according to another post on Reddit, a group went to a show at Ritz Ybor in Tampa last Friday and five of their group has tested positive for COVID-19.
Clubs and venues are hurting. There’s no debate about that. But there’s simultaneously a responsibility from the owners to keep their patrons safe, and paradoxically, that means staying closed at their own detriment. Like some other countries, the US government needs to step up and create a stimulus package for these venues that are still not technically allowed to open with current restrictions, lest up to 90% of independent venues close their doors permanently.
Photo via NAFT Photography