INDIANAPOLIS — Is the Marion County Health Department forcing strip clubs to remain closed?
Dancers Showclub, an adult club on Indy’s west side, was allowed to re-open during the pandemic in July. However, Christina Rodine, the office manager, says they were open for “approximately six hours” before Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett shut them down again, when the city and county decided to close all bars due to an increase in coronavirus numbers.
Rodine says they were planning on re-opening Sept. 8, but received a call from the Marion County Health Department a few days before that, saying they got a complaint about them being open. Rodine explained to them that was impossible because they were still closed, but planned to open Sept. 8. On Sept. 9, she got a call from the health department again, saying all adult clubs were to remain closed unless they chose to not have entertainers.
“They said we could open as just as bar, but we would be facing liabilities if we let any of the girls in,” Rodine said. “But, I mean, we’re not a bar. Without them, we’re nothing.”
Rodine says “the man” she spoke with at the health department was told to specifically call all adult clubs. She also says the man admitted that the county’s mandate has “caused more trouble than necessary.” She says the health department didn’t give her an explanation of why adult clubs were being forced to close, while other venues like bars, nightclubs, and comedy clubs, can stay open with restrictions.
“Our girls were six feet away from the customers,” Rodine explained. “We had our tables six feet distanced as well. We were all wearing masks. I believe we were cleaner than most restaurants in the area.”
Rodine knows the pandemic has been hard on so many people, but she believes it’s been the hardest on her dancers because they haven’t been able to find other jobs.
“Several of them, especially the single mothers, are 1099 contractors, so they aren’t even able to qualify for unemployment. They’ve lost their livelihood,” she said. “These girls are told many times to get a better job, but the moment they try to, they’re ostracized for their previous position.”
Rodine says she just wants answers, or at least an explanation, from the health department and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.
“We would just like to know what we could do to potentially open, or at least know, what is the timeline, so that way our business owners are able to budget for this,” she said. “We’d be more than willing to abide by all these guidelines, of course. We would just like to know how he (Hogsett) sees this plan working. That would be a great start. Is there an end to this? Is there a way to tell us what we can or can’t do to get back to operation.”
WIBC reached out to the Marion County Health Department but did not get a response.