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Vancouver nightclub shuttered seven days for being over capacity NYE

Inspectors estimated Levels Nightclub had 705 patrons inside on New Year's Eve 2023. Capacity is 449 people.
B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch has ordered Vancouver's Levels nightclub closed for seven days.

B.C.’s Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch has ordered a Vancouver night club closed for seven days after inspectors found it had exceeded its customer capacity on New Year’s Eve 2023.

In his June 17 decision, branch manager’s delegate R. John Rogers said the maximum occupant load for Levels Nightclub on Seymour Street as determined by the city under the provincial fire code is set at 449 people.

The regulations set out a penalty of a three-to-seven-day licence suspension and/or a $3,000 to $7,000 penalty.

“During the New Year’s Eve event, it egregiously exceeded the person capacity and occupant load for the service area of the establishment,” Rogers said.

As patrons lined up outside and more partied inside, inspectors went in while police stopped further entry.

Inside, one inspector counted 696 patrons while a second counted 662. Twenty minutes later, they did a second count, arriving at figures of 746 and 717 patrons, respectively. Those four numbers were then averaged arriving at a count of 705.

Meanwhile, the club had to move extra security outside where people lined up were being told no one else could enter.

“Some of these people began to get confrontational with the licensee’s security staff, resulting in (police) having to request additional Vancouver police officers to come to assist in controlling these people,” Rogers said.

The club’s owner’s assistant said club capacity was an issue that was key that evening.

One said the number of tickets sold for the event was limited to 400 and as that capacity was reached on the morning of Dec. 31, 2023, the ticket sales were discontinued.

“However, when the former (general manager) instructed the security people to let in more people, he had not first consulted with the owner’s assistant,” Rogers said.

The club’s management admitted the contravention had occurred but hoped the penalty would not be too severe.

“The branch submits that the evidence clearly demonstrates an egregious breach of the capacity limit calling for the maximum penalty,” Rogers said.