Toronto nightclubs probably won't reopen until a COVID-19 vaccine is found
Say goodbye to nightclubs for good, says one of Toronto's most prolific nightclub and restaurant owners.
Charles Khabouth, whose multi-national enterprise INK Enterainment is responsible for certified summer staples like Rebel, Toybox, and Cabana Pool Bar, doesn't have an optimistic outlook on the future of the city's nightlife.
"Nightclubs are gone. Gone," Khabouth told the Financial Post. "One million per cent. Until a vaccine is found."
"You cannot space people out in a nightclub. That’s not a nightclub. I can’t make little cubes six feet apart, get people to pay a cover charge, then tell them to go and stand in a cube. No, no, it just doesn’t work."
Khabouth has been the hand behind some of the city's defining nightlife fixtures since the 1980s (including now-closed Club Z and Guvernment), so his diagnosis on the scene isn't promising.
With the forced closure of bars and nightclubs now lasting over two months, some of Toronto's most beloved watering holes, bra-filled dive bars, boozy basements, tiki bars, and rooftop rodeos for cheap thrills, have been forced to fold in the face of looming commercial rents and no end to the pandemic in sight.
While restaurants have been able to resume operations for takeout, delivery, and dine-in sometime in the foreseeable future, nightclubs have no such hope — gatherings of more than 5 people aren't even allowed yet.
Just earlier this month, South Korea saw an outbreak of new cases in Seoul's nightlife district, Itaewon, where nightclubs and bars had reopened following a sharp flattening of the curve. They've since been closed down again, indefinitely.
That means business owners like Khabouth will have to pivot to survive. According to the entrepreneur, he has plans to turn Cabana Pool Bar into a restaurant, open seven days a week, with bookings made in advance — whatever it takes to reopen.
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