Cape Town nightclub faces investigation over Covid-19 ‘super-spreader’ event

The Western Cape Liquor Authority and the police will launch an investigation into a Cape Town bar following reports that it is responsible for dozens of Covid-19 cases.
The Western Cape Liquor Authority and the police will launch an investigation into a Cape Town bar following reports that it is responsible for dozens of Covid-19 cases.
Image: iStock / Izusek

The Western Cape Liquor Authority and the police will launch an investigation into a Cape Town bar following reports that it is responsible for dozens of Covid-19 cases.

There have been about 63 new Covid-19 cases identified in the city's southern suburbs, mostly among matric pupils in some of the city’s top schools. The infections have been traced to a party at the bar a week ago.

Western Cape premier Alan Winde said preliminary data indicated that of the 63 cases detected to date, 37 were matric pupils who attend schools in the southern suburbs. Most of the pupils attend private schools.

He said his office had been alerted that “the required regulations and the required safety behaviours were not adhered to in this case”.

“There are other concerning allegations around this event, and we are now requesting a full investigation into this bar (club) in question, including by the police and the Western Cape Liquor Authority,” Winde said.

The 63 cases were identified in the past week by the province’s contact tracing teams after several GPs noticed a pattern among residents of similar age.

The investigation comes just hours after several schools in the southern suburbs warned parents and pupils that partying by some pupils could cost some matrics their future, because their final exams start on Monday.

The schools said partying at crowded nightclubs with no masks worn has put pupils at high risk of contracting Covid-19.

In a letter, Westerford High School principal Mark Smith raised concerns about a large gathering that took place at Tin Roof nightclub in Claremont on October 3, which is regarded as “a super-spreader” event.

“The event on October 3 is being regarded as ‘a super-spreader’ as 59 positive cases of Covid-19 have been identified from that evening alone. Most of the pupils present were matrics. As a consequence of the non-observance of safety protocols at that club, there are now a large number of matric pupils in neighbouring schools who have tested postitive for Covid-19.”

The owner of Tin Roof, James Truter, has distanced his club from allegations that it is a super-spreader venue.

“There’s been zero negligence on our part. The Saturday of October 3 was a normal trading day with no special performances or special event of any sort.”

Truter said he has heard about several parties, including house parties in the Claremont area, that were attended by young people who later moved to his establishment for an after-party. He denied allegations that his nightclub, which is currently trading only as a bar, attracted crowds.

“Our normal population certificate permits us to have 190 people, but since we’ve reopened we only take about 120 patrons max, which is less than two-thirds of our total capacity. We haven’t had any bigger crowd than this. Instead we’ve chased people home when queues are growing long outside.”

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