VANCOUVER COMEDY AND ARTS CLUB TO TAKE FINAL BOW AS PANDEMIC-INCURRED LOSSES MOUNT

After decades of flamenco dance and standup comedy, the Kino Cafe can't overcome COVID-19 health restrictions

The Kino Cafe on Cambie Street is one of Canada's few flamenco venues and is also home to the city's longest-standing comedy night. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The six patio seats are a far cry from the 80-person capacity floor the Kino Cafe was used to filling before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once a bustling hub for flamenco dancers and up-and-coming standup comics, it’s now a money pit for owner Steve Allen — the financial strain enough to make him wave the white flag after years of promoting colourful performances.

“Basically, it killed the Kino,” said Allen. “With no performances in here, the stage is a very lonely place.”

The Kino Cafe on Cambie Street is the latest casualty in a growing list of restaurants, pubs and clubs unable to make ends meet amid mounting public health measures in response to the pandemic. Most recently, the province banned indoor dining to curb a spike in cases. Those measures have been extended until at least May 25.

Owners like Allen are confronted with a tough decision: try to weather the storm or close up shop.

“There’s just no end in sight with this pandemic and opening full capacity again. I don’t have any idea when that’s going to happen again, and I don’t think anyone does,” said Allen.

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