Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he feels sorry for the spouses and partners of the hundreds of people potentially exposed to COVID-19 at a Toronto strip club.
“I feel sorry for the people when they go to their house and tell them that they were at the Brass Rail, that’s who I feel sorry for,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be on the end of that one.”
Ford was responding to news from Toronto Public Health that 550 people could have been exposed to the virus after a Brass Rail employee, who has since tested positive, worked four days last week.
He was asked about whether the incident made him anxious given the focus on keeping community transmission of the virus down so schools can safely reopen, or whether things like this are bound to happen and show the importance of following up on cases.
“Well, it’s about follow-up,” Ford said.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) said it has followed up with close contacts and asked the individuals to self isolate for 14 days and get a COVID-19 test, a message Ford repeated.
The public health agency is also contacting the individuals whose names were in the Brass Rail’s contact-tracing log.
“You gotta practise social distancing, you gotta put on a mask,” Ford said. “I know that sounds ironic, talking about that, but you have to.”
WATCH: Ford says contact-tracing app ‘critical’ tool in containing COVID-19. Story continues below.
Dr. Vinita Dubey, Toronto’s Associate Medical Officer, told CTV News that the strip club was not following physical distancing guidelines between tables, or between staff and some customers. Its visitor log was also incomplete, she said.
The premier added that the strip club should be treated like any other business, and that the province could send in health inspectors.
“They gotta follow the protocols, that’s it. Practise social distancing. I know it sounds crazy when you’re talking about the Brass Rail but you just gotta do it,” he said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost Canada and has been updated.