Party's over

Gay club shuts down after packed, shirtless dance floor leads to new COVID cases

Via Facebook

The popular Atlanta nightclub Heretic will shut down until further notice following the spread of COVID-19 at a party there earlier this month.

Heretic hosted a circuit party June 20 featuring a performance by DJ Dan Slater. Though the management of Heretic have acknowledged only two confirmed coronavirus diagnoses, The Advocate now reports that scores of patrons became ill after the party.

Video of the party went viral last week, and shows dozens of shirtless men dancing close together and not wearing masks.

The video sparked online backlash over the recklessness of the club and its patrons, though initially Heretic’s general manager, Alan Collins, said the club would continue to operate and host events, even providing masks for visitors. Collins released a statement 27 via Facebook backpedaling that assertion; instead, he announced the club will shutter.

Related: Two gay bars in Texas shut after multiple staff test positive for COVID-19

“Out of an abundance of caution,” Collins wrote, “we have decided to postpone all scheduled events until further notice so we can continue to gather more information and adjust our operation accordingly. Full refunds will be issued to those guests who have purchased tickets.”

“The safest mode of operating means maintaining balance and doing the right thing in constantly changing conditions and new information,” Collins further wrote. “We are committed to doing the right thing and are looking at putting together events over the next few months that will make social distancing easier to maintain.” He concluded by saying “Stay Safe and WEAR YOUR DAMN MASKS!!”

The state of Georgia has come under fire for beginning reopening procedures in late April against the recommendations of public health officials. The state has also been criticized for doctoring numbers of infected citizens. Subsequently, cases have skyrocketed in Georiga since late April with more than 79,000 infected people in the state and close to 3,000 deaths. 

Note: this article has been updated to specify that DJ Dan Slater was only a performer at the event, not the host. Hosting duties fell solely to Heretic staff.