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Mustafa Hirji. Hirji said if the inspectors see any infractions of provincial orders — like an actual strip show — they can shut the premises down.
Although the photo posted by the Sundowner on Facebook shows the patio site to be covered with a roof, Hirji said it does not qualify as an indoor venue because there are no walls. The province has moved much of Ontario, including Niagara, into the second phase of its pandemic economic reopening. That phase allows restaurants to serve customers on outdoor patios provided staff take the proper infection control measures and tables are set far enough apart to allow for physical distancing.
Live entertainment — from concerts, to live theatre to burlesque shows — are not permitted under phase two because those events represent an increased risk of spreading the novel coronavirus virus, which causes the potentially deadly COVID disease.
The club has been erecting its patio through most of the week — although it is unclear if the establishment required approval from the bylaw offices of either the City of Niagara Falls or Niagara Region to build the outdoor space. While the Sundowner may be opening the door for other clubs to operate during the pandemic, other adult entertainment owners are opting to wait out the storm until the Stage 3 of the reopening.
But while Grisafi waits for Stage 3, the costs associated with his closed strip club continue to mount. Insurance premiums alone, Grisafi explained, have already cost him 90 per cent of the funds he received through government programs to help business owners get through the crisis.
Hirji said he was not sure how inspectors will be selected to observe the Sundowner patio operations Saturday.
Inspectors are usually ased by geographic area, he said, but staffing requirements could mean someone from outside Niagara Falls will get the asment. Copyright owned or d by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved. To order copies of Toronto Star articles, please go to: www. Grant LaFleche is a St.
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