Montreal

No charges, no fines after Quebec City karaoke night led to nearly 60 cases of COVID-19

Investigators met with several dozen Bar Kirouac patrons and the establishment's owner to remind them of sanitary measures. But none will be sanctioned.

Meanwhile, a potential outbreak is reported at another Quebec City bar

Investigators met with several dozen Bar Kirouac patrons and the establishment’s owner to remind them of sanitary measures. But none of them will be punished. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Quebec City police won't press charges in connection with a COVID-19 outbreak touched off by a karaoke night at a local bar.

Investigators met with several dozen Bar Kirouac patrons and the establishment's owner to remind them of public-health rules.

The number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 after a night of drink and song in Quebec City's west end stands at 58, with a further 15 associated infections.

The number of people charged or cited by police in connection with the incident: zero. And that's where it will remain.

Sandra Dion, a spokesperson for the Quebec City police service, told Radio-Canada the investigation into the karaoke night is closed.

"The investigation into the events at the Kirouac is over, as of now," Const. Dion said. "There were two aspects to it, one into management and obviously the other into possible negligence on the part of patrons. We can confirm there will be no criminal or other charges."

At least two Bar Kirouac patrons who underwent COVID screening decided to go out on the town as they awaited their results. In both cases they came back positive. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

She said the police service's policy, which is to remind people of public health regulations and ask they abide by them, has generally been successful.

"The vast majority of people are willing to listen when we remind them (of the rules)," she said.

'They should have stayed at home'

But the majority isn't everyone.

At least two Bar Kirouac patrons who underwent COVID screening decided to go out on the town as they awaited their results, according to multiple reports. In both cases they came back positive.

The fact they visited another bar that holds singalong evenings, despite signs outside specifically asking Bar Kirouac customers to stay away, rankled one of that establishment's owners.

"I find it a little dishonest of them," said Geneviève Tremblay, co-owver of La Gamelle. "They should have stayed at home as required by the government."

Public health officials have targeted six other Quebec City bars, which are known to have been frequented by Kirouac regulars.

It's not just a karaoke thing.

Const. Dion said patrol cars were called late Thursday to break up a gathering of more than 100 hot-rod enthusiasts. They too were let off with a warning.

And police confirmed late Friday they are investigating a possible outbreak at another Quebec City watering hole, La Souche.

Four positive COVID tests have been recorded among bar patrons, and public health authorities are urging anyone who has visited the establishment since Aug. 23 to get screened for the disease.

With files from Radio-Canada

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