SASKATOON -- The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) says one local bar owner will not be subject to a public health order specific to nightclubs.

In a letter to Pink Lounge and Nightclub, the SHA says after consultations and inspections, it’s satisfied the establishment has changed operations enough to meet requirements for restaurants and lounge’s.

“Through consultations and observations made by Public Health Inspectors with the Environmental Public Health Department in the Saskatoon office of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, I hereby acknowledge that Pink Lounge and Nightclub has satisfactorily and sufficiently altered its operations during the current Covid-19 pandemic to meet the requirements in the Restaurants and Licensed Establishments Guidelines in the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan” the letter reads. “I therefore acknowledge that Pink Lounge is not currently operating as a nightclub, and, as such, the October 29, 2020 Public Health Order does not apply to your facility.”

Last week, Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab and Health Minister Jim Reiter announced new restrictions on Saskatoon nightclubs, restricting the sale of alcohol until 10 p.m., and mandating an 11 p.m. closure. A nightclub is defined as an establishment at which the main activities are selling liquor and providing music to which patrons can dance, the ministry said in an email to CTV News. Food sales are not their focus, whereas food sales would be a focus for many pubs, restaurants or lounges.

Joe Jackson, general manager of Pink Nightclub in Saskatoon, said the public health orders were wide-reaching. He said a Saskatchewan Health Authority inspector visited Pink last week and found they did not meet the definition of a nightclub.

Since Pink resumed operations June 8th following the economic shutdown this spring, Jackson said the bar has eliminated the dancefloor, enhanced cleaning protocols and moved cash registers, tables and furniture to ensure two metres of physical distance inside the establishment.

The SHA says the bar must still follow public health orders for licensed establishments.

“That includes, but is not limited to: maintaining an occupancy level that allows staff and customers to maintain two meters of physical distancing; only members of the same dining party should be seated together; a maximum of six people seated at the same table; dance floors and spaces that promote congregation are not permitted; physical distancing is expected in all areas of the facility, including the dining area, the bar area, washrooms and payment areas; no movement of customers between bars and eating areas; music to be played at a moderate volume to prevent shouting.“