MONTREAL --  It's official: Karaoke has been banned in Quebec bars and other public venues.

The Quebec government released a statement Friday morning saying that all karaoke activities taking place in bars, community halls and other venues must be suspended immediately because of the risk of spreading COVID-19.

This decision follows a COVID-19 outbreak in Quebec City that began at a karaoke bar and has spread to at least 68 people, with 18 secondary cases in the community, including four schools.

"Due to the real risks of transmission of COVID-19 represented by holding karaoke activities, whether in bars or elsewhere, we have decided to suspend them in public places throughout Quebec," said Quebec's director of public health Horacio Arruda. Arruda said the new measure is part of preventive actions ahead of a probable second wave of cases, but that bars would not close entirely.

"It does not prevent the establishments concerned from continuing their other activities, on condition that they comply with the instructions in place," he said.

Government officials said karaoke presents several risks factors, such as the projection of droplets when people sing, the proximity between the participants and the sharing of common objects, in particular microphones.

The ban affects some 500 bars across the province.

In addition to the ban at public places, officials said karaoke activities organized in private with people who do not live together are "strongly discouraged." 


In addition to the karaoke ban, the government is instructing all bar owners to keep a registry of customers who enter their establishment.

Officials had encouraged bars to do so prior to Friday, but are now making it mandatory to help public health officials trace contacts in the event of infection.