‘Super spreader’ event leaves 63 infected

The Tin Roof nightclub in Main Road, Claremont, has been linked to a Covid-19 “super spreader” event by a provincial Department of Health tracing team.

The Western Cape government has called for a full investigation after 63 people, including 37 matric pupils, caught Covid-19 in a “super spreader” event that’s been traced to a party at the Tin Roof nightclub in Claremont two weeks ago.

The Tin Roof advertised cheap alcoholic drinks on its Instagram account on Wednesday September 30 ahead of the party on Saturday October 3.

The specials included two-for-one beers at 6pm, R20 vodka mix from 7.30pm, R25 libido sprite from 8.30pm and R10 sours shots from 10pm.

That Instagram post also noted that the venue had a limited capacity and that Covid-19 regulations applied.

The Tin Roof has, according to its owner, been converted to a bar.

Nightclubs can’t open under level 1 lockdown regulations, but bars and taverns can, although they may not admit more than half their capacity and they can’t sell alcohol during the curfew from midnight to 4am.

Premier Alan Winde said a provincial Department of Health tracing team had so far identified 63 cases linked to the Tin Roof.

The Provincial Liquor Board and the police had been asked to investigate, he said.

The outbreak did not mean the province was experiencing a “second wave”, he said.

“We are nevertheless extremely worried that this particular event is indicative of younger residents not adhering to the important behaviours we need to prevent a new spike of infections.”

Western Cape Education Department spokeswoman Kerry Mauchline said pupils and their parents needed to take responsibility for their actions outside of school hours.

“If this sort of thing happens during the final matric exams, they could risk delaying finishing their matric until June next year and if they test positive during the exams they will not be able to write them this year.”

Owner of Tin Roof, James Truter, said his 19-year-old twins worked for him and he would never put his own children in danger.

Tin Roof, since opening a month ago, had complied strictly with Covid-19 regulations, he said. Masks had to be worn and visitors had to sanitise upon entering the venue, he said. Temperature checks were done and a log sheet was kept of all patrons.

Patrons had to sanitise and wear masks when buying drinks at the bar but could remove their masks when seated at a table, he said.

Pool tables had been moved onto the dance floor, there was no DJ or flashing lights and dancing was not permitted, he said.

They opened from 6pm until 11.40pm and – with a capacity of 190 people – admitted no more than 95 patrons and their seven staff.It was nonsense that the venue could be linked to the spreading of Covid-19, Mr Truter said.

“Matric kids need to take responsibility at such a serious time in their lives,” he said. “They need to quarantine themselves and take care. How can a venue be blamed when kids cannot follow protocol and should be looking after themselves?”

He added: “Is it not possible these kids have been connecting at many different parties and clubs all over Cape Town?”

Claremont police station commander Colonel Maree Louw said police were looking into the matter.

“We visited the place the weekend after and found the place to be compliant,” she said.

The manager had been warned to adhere to the rules and regulations of the Disaster Management Act, she said.

“It is unfortunate that this has happened, and we want people to report to us if people are non compliant in terms of the Covid-19,” she said.