COVID-19 has taken another hostage.
This time, it’s Quebec’s karaoke scene: 500 to 600 bars across the province that–depending on your sensibilities–can be a joy to behold or a place you want to get the heck out of as fast as you can.
They will be closed for a while.
Confirming a Radio-Canada report, the Quebec government today formally announced a ban on karaoke in public venues.
The province also will now require bars to keep a register of customers to make it easier for public health authorities to track down people who may have been in contact with an infected person.
In a news release, the Quebec Health Ministry cited the projection of respiratory droplets when singing and the tendency among singers to share microphones.
It also noted recent cases of transmission connected to karaoke events.
“Due to the real risks of transmission of COVID-19 represented by karaoke activities, whether in bars or elsewhere, we have decided to suspend these in public places throughout Quebec,” Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s public health director, said in the release.
“This measure is part of our preventive actions in the face of a probable second wave of cases,” the release says.
“However, it does not prevent the establishments concerned from continuing their other activities, provided they comply with current guidelines.”
In the release, the government also strongly discouraged karaoke activities held at private venues that involve people who don’t live together.
WATCH | Quebec City karaoke night linked to COVID-19 outbreak:
The decision follows a COVID-19 outbreak in Quebec City that began at a karaoke bar last month and has, as of Tuesday, spread to 68 people, with 18 secondary cases in the community, including four schools.
Karaoke is extremely popular in Quebec bars, but the outbreak that was born at Bar Kirouac in Quebec City’s Saint-Sauveur district just kept getting worse–its spread abetted by some customers who went to another bar, La Souche, in the Limoilou neighbourhood.
On Tuesday, the Quebec government unveiled its new four-tier regional alert and response system for COVID-19, noting that the Quebec City region was one of four to be placed on the second tier, or the yellow zone.
With files from CBC News (John MacFarlane) The Canadian Press, RCI