RI lifts remaining high-risk COVID-19 restrictions on nightclubs, live performances
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – As of Friday, the state’s remaining high-risk COVID-19 restrictions on close contact industries have been lifted.
High-risk activities such as nightclubs, live performances, indoor saunas, and whirlpools will now no longer need to adhere to capacity limits and social distancing requirements.
“It’s the joyous day that you need to hear.”
Anthony Santurri, co-owner of Colosseum, a Providence nightclub in its 12th year of business, transformed into a karaoke bar to keep the lights on.
“It was wonderful to finally hear that the most suppressed industry, the industry that was most held down from success is finally going to be able to open fully and we’re gonna be able to have those joyous in-person moments,” said Santurri.
He said his industry was left in the dark during the state’s reopening process.
“My staff and my fellow nightclub owners, dance club venue, performance owners… we did our part. We didn’t open. We stayed closed, shuttered is the word. But we didn’t get anything, there was no help there at the level that needed to be there for help,” he said. “We weren’t talked about as much and we weren’t referred to, and that was very unfortunate for many of us and many of our employees for that whole time when they just forgot about us.”
Colosseum typically saw as many as 900 people on a weekend pre-pandemic. During the pandemic, the karaoke bar brought in just over 100 people a weekend.
Enforcing the state’s restrictions caused even more stress.
“I have been yelled at, threatened, I’ve had tables tipped over when we adapted and tried to enforce them, I’ve had my staff stressed out to the max, my patrons stressed out. I shut down in the middle of a night because people weren’t putting their masks on.”
Santurri is excited to reopen his business as a nightclub next weekend but he hopes the state will come through soon to help club owners like him repair what’s been lost.
“There are some businesses and industries that need some more help, and I really hope they give it to us. The patrons who supported us… I can’t thank them enough, and there are people who are gonna support us again, and we’re grateful.”