When Chris Fuselier, owner of Players Club in Denver, was told that he had to enforce a 25-foot distance requirement between dancers and customers due to COVID, he knew that his business would suffer dramatically. And so it did. After receiving a letter from the Tri-County Health Department on June 6 detailing this new distance requirement, he did exactly what he was told to do. In one week, the club’s sales fell off 50%.

“It just didn’t make sense at all, you needed your binoculars to see the women and how could you give a gratuity to them?” Fuselier told Denver’s Channel 7. “Our liquor sales were down; our entertainers were really suffering. We had no choice but to file a lawsuit.”

Fuselier was not taking the virus lightly, however. Five of his staff members tested positive for the virus, prompting him to voluntarily shut the club down for almost two weeks.

The Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) agreed to grant Players Club a variance after Fuselier presented a plan to keep dancers and customers safe. That plan? Plexiglass installed around all three of the club’s stages, with at two-inch slot at the bottom for customers to drop tips.

“I got a little creative, I copied an idea from a strip club in Vancouver, Canada,” Fuselier said, noting that the bar and the cashier at the entrance are also protected by plexiglass. Masks and hand sanitizers are also available throughout the club, and the club is adhering to disease prevention measures that require temperature checks for staff and customers.

Though dancers must wear masks and remain at least six feet apart from customers, private dances still are reportedly taking place at Players Club. “The way I look at it is that if you have two consenting parties and they are both wearing masks, why not?” said Fuselier.

Offering a lap dance violates the Tri-County Health Department’s public health order and guidance. If a complaint is filed, the health department told Denver7 that they will take an “educational approach” when addressing the situation.

Though business is reportedly 30% higher this year than last year at this time, Fuselier and Players Club will likely experience a drop in revenue. Recently, the Colorado governor issued an executive order that calls for a 10 p.m. last call at restaurants and bars, an order which was upheld by Denver District Court Judge Brian Whitney.

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