Two-thirds of Brass Rail patrons exposed to COVID-19 provided fake contact information

The City was only able to contact about a third of the people potentially exposed to COVID-19 at a Toronto strip club. Brandon Rowe with why the former privacy commissioner wasn't surprised by that.

By Brandon Rowe and News staff

Of the over 400 Brass Rail patrons who may have been exposed to COVID-19, only one-third provided their real identity and information for contract tracing.

Toronto Public Health confirmed to CityNews they were only able to directly reach 157 of the 441 patrons who had attended the establishment between August 4-8 when an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 was working.

At least one patron has also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

In a statement, TPH stressed “the important role the public can play to support contract tracing efforts in situations like these by providing accurate contact information to local businesses and services.”

Former Privacy Commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian says this incident has set the precedent as to how some of the population feels about contact tracing and added she wouldn’t be surprised if this was happening at other bars and restaurants.

“It’s not surprising to me to expect individuals to reveal their personal information in a private space,” said Dr. Cavoukian. “No one wants to be traced or surveilled. In an open society such as ours, It’s the wrong model.”

Cavoukian said she believes restaurants should instead be encouraging people to download the COVID-19 alert app.

Toronto Public Health also encouraged downloading the app as it makes your data anonymous and could play a role in helping reduce the spread of COVID-19.

TPH continues to ask anyone who attended the Brass Rail Tavern during the time of exposure to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.

The agency says the strip club is now following pandemic operating guidelines, after an initial investigation found the venue was not following rules.



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