Winnipeg hotel turns conference room to haunted house amid pandemic

A Winnipeg hotel struggling for profit amid the COVID-19 pandemic is transforming their basement to an extreme haunted house.

The idea for haunted house came after several event cancellations at the hotel within recent weeks.

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“I’ve got three banquet spaces here that we’ve had to shut down, we’ve had to refund a lot of peoples weddings and wedding socials. This area hurt us real bad in the hotel and I thought, hey why don’t we do something really fun and creative so we can drive some new traffic here,” said Ravi Ramberran, the owner of the Four Crowns Restaurant on McPhillips street.

Ravi Ramberran, the owner of the Four Crowns Restaurant on McPhillips street.
Ravi Ramberran, the owner of the Four Crowns Restaurant on McPhillips street.Michael Draven / Global News

The massive space underneath the hotel has been operating as one of the most extravagant haunted houses in the area since the start of the month.

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Winnipegger Al Vincent explored the spooky creation with his daughter on Friday night and was impressed with the house’s production.

Read more: Winnipeg haunted house to open — with COVID-19 protocols

“She seemed to like the wolf guy with the chainsaw,” he said. “There’s definitely a lot of crazy little twist and turns in there.”

Inside the haunted house at Four Crowns Restaurant and Bar on McPhillips Street.
Inside the haunted house at Four Crowns Restaurant and Bar on McPhillips Street.Michael Draven / Global News

With COVID-19 haunting the minds of many potential customers, Ramberran says the hotel is requiring customers to sign-in, leaving their name and number for contact tracing.

“We’re only putting a maximum of five groups of five people through and they must keep moving through, they can never stop to gather and mingle. We don’t need anyone getting sick, safety is number one,” he continued.

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Inside the haunted house at Four Crowns Restaurant and Bar on McPhillips Street.
Inside the haunted house at Four Crowns Restaurant and Bar on McPhillips Street.Michael Draven / Global News

“With everything going on in the world right now it’s nice to have a little bit of fun and everything here is all up to safety measures, so having fun and being safe at the same time is important to all of us right now,” says Melissa Wedgewood, one the house’s key designers.

Inside the haunted house at Four Crowns Restaurant and Bar on McPhillips Street.
Inside the haunted house at Four Crowns Restaurant and Bar on McPhillips Street.Michael Draven / Global News

Ramberran says he hopes his improvised attraction provides Winnipeggers some fun entertainment ahead of Halloween.

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“I knew we wouldn’t have huge lineups outside, I knew people wouldn’t be coming out like crazy, but we wanted to try it and this year more than ever is kind of a trial and error year.”

Click to play video 'Winnipeg haunted house to open — with COVID-19 protocols' Winnipeg haunted house to open — with COVID-19 protocols
Winnipeg haunted house to open — with COVID-19 protocols

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