Saskatoon business flagged as potential site of COVID-19 exposure not contacted by SHA: owner

·2 min read

A man whose Saskatoon business was flagged Saturday as a site of possible exposure to COVID-19 says provincial health officials hadn't reached out to him as of early Monday afternoon — more than a week after the reported date of potential exposure.

"You'd think if they could make a post about it Saturday evening they could have contacted us at the same time, or at least by now," said Aaron Paetsch, the owner of Divas Nightclub.

On Saturday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) issued a public health advisory telling any patrons who had been at Divas late on Aug. 1 or 2 to self-monitor for symptoms of the virus.

"When an individual tests positive for COVID-19, a contact investigation immediately follows where public health reaches out to anyone who may be linked to that individual with COVID-19 and provide them with information on testing and self-isolation," according to the health authority's advisory.

"If health officials are uncertain that they have identified all known close contacts, they may take further action to notify the community about possible locations where individuals with COVID-19 may have attended while infectious."

Paetsch said his business has a scanning system at its entrance that could help health officials conduct contact tracing.

SHA responds

In an emailed statement, the health authority said it had tried to reach the business via phone and email.

"While we do make every effort to reach any affected business in advance of issuing a PSA through contact information on their file, if we are not able to reach the business in advance we will issue the public notification regardless for public safety reasons," a spokesperson said.

Paetsch wasn't buying it.

"My manager's as well as my cell phone is always on file for when they come in to inspect, like two weeks ago as well," he said. "So, that, I'm sorry to say, is complete BS."

Bar made a 'huge effort': customer

Customer Sydney Sawatsky said she was recently at Divas with a mask on and that the business made a "huge effort" to encourage physical distancing.

"I actually sat in a spot that was marked with an 'X' and the one bouncer who worked upstairs actually came and asked me to move just because the other side of that stool was not marked with the 'X,'" Sawatsky said.

She said the bar staff was wearing masks, but not many customers.

"The general public that went there weren't really six feet apart," Sawatsky said. "That wasn't something that was necessarily the bar's fault. I think people are just kind of like thinking the pandemic isn't still really here, when it is."

Sawatsky said she would go back to the club, but not for two weeks.

Guy Quenneville/CBC
Guy Quenneville/CBC