It’s been nearly two years since the dance floor at Mango’s Lounge in Vancouver has seen any action.
Friday afternoon, DJ and business owner Hugo Cachete was busy doing a final sound check and making sure everything was ready to welcome the community back.
“We’re still alive.And I thank (them for) that with all my heart,” a visibly emotional Cachete told Global News.
“This is my passion.I built up this business because I love what I do, I love Latin music, I love Latin food, and I want to share that with all the community in Vancouver.”
Read more: B.C.to drop capacity limits, reopen nightclubs and bars as Omicron spread wanes
COVID-19 public health orders limiting event capacity, closing bars and nightclubs and banning dancing were lifted this week, as officials say the Omicron variant-driven fifth wave of the pandemic begins to subside.
Story continues below advertisement Those changes have businesses in downtown Vancouver hopeful for a resurgence, after months of see-sawing restrictions and weak sales.
“The phone has been ringing off the hook, and reservations on line are coming in faster than they have in the last six months,” Olivier Bureau director of operations at per se Social Corner said.
2:00 Multiple restrictions over B.C.event gatherings have finally been lifted Thursday Multiple restrictions over B.C.event gatherings have finally been lifted Thursday “(There’s) the excitement of everybody joining, and knowing we’re moving in the direction of lifting all the restrictions.Just the vibe that brings into the room.”
Trending Stories ‘Freedom convoy’ organizer Chris Barber to be released on bail Wet’suwet’en Nation condemns northern B.C.pipeline attack as new images released It is shaping up to be a busy few days in the downtown core.
The Vancouver Canucks will play to a full capacity crowd at Rogers Arena on Saturday and Monday.
Read more: Many of B.C.’s COVID-19 restrictions have lifted.
Here is what you can and still can’t do
Story continues below advertisement The Vancouver Fan Expo is expecting to bring thousands of cosplay, comic book and pop culture aficionados to the Vancouver Convention Centre.
And across the city, people will be dancing the night away at places like Mango’s Lounge.
“It’s been a bit like the small town in footloose where there’s been no dancing allowed for nearly two years,” Downtown Vancouver Business Association president and CEO Nolan Marshall said.
4:29 Travel Best Bets: Canada Changes Travel Restrictions Travel Best Bets: Canada Changes Travel Restrictions “It will be good for people to get out, have a good time and come downtown and experience downtown in the way they are used to.”
The easing restrictions, and the accompanying sense that the pandemic has turned a corner, have even been good for hard-pressed retailers.
“There’s a lot more foot traffic around the city, which of course brings them back into the store, which is really exciting,” Matthew Orcutt of furniture boutique designhouse told Global News.
Story continues below advertisement Read more: COVID-19: Five more B.C.deaths, hospitalizations down 30% from peak
“We’re so happy to have people back into the store.”
While restrictions have eased in British Columbia, they have yet to be fully removed.
A public health order mandating masks in indoor public places remains in effect, as does the province’s vaccine passport.
Provincial officials say those measures will be reviewed in March, and again in April if necessary.
— with files from Rumina Daya
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