Bhangra dance studio owner frustrated over delay in COVID-19 guidance

The owner of a Surrey dance studio says he’s growing frustrated at the delay in health officials offering guidance for how to safely restart classes.

Hardeep Singh Sahota runs Surrey’s Royal Academy of Bhangra and in the last month, in-person classes have resumed, closed, resumed and then closed again.

Earlier this week the province updated it’s advice, saying all indoor group physical activities must be suspended “while new guidance is being developed.” 

Sahota says he’s emailed Fraser Health about his safety plan but didn’t hear back, and when he tried to call, he was left on hold for three hours.

“There is no information coming directly from the government by saying ,‘This is the COVID safety plan, this is what you need to follow,’” he said.

The recent order for group classes to close again caused confusion as some businesses had been cleared to reopen only days earlier. 

On Friday, Dr. Bonnie Henry said that health officials hoped the guidance would be available sooner, but “it has turned out to be more complex than we realized.”

On Saturday, the message remained the same. In a statement to CTV News, Fraser Health said “updated public health guidance for these activities is currently under development and will be distributed by the Province when available.”

But Sahota says he’s tired of waiting. 

“I can say disappointed by the government, they’re not actually doing the job they’re supposed to be. It’s been 8 months,” he said.

Since the pandemic started, Sahota says his business has lost $100,000 and just wants help to keep going.

“We all need guidance, every business needs guidance,” he said.