Provincial health worker Dr. Bonnie Henry said Saturday that physical distancing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 will remain throughout the season, and that the organizers of these large outdoor events should think about alternatives.
“We do not have enough collective immunity to protect everyone and allow this type of event to occur,” she said. “Big parades, big mass rallies where we all come together – it won’t happen this summer.”
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Henry said this also applies to weddings and other large family gatherings, urging people to consider cutting down guest lists and finding other virtual ways to connect.
“I would tell people to think small,” she said.
“I think there are possibilities during the summer that we will have many other opportunities for more social interaction, but if you look at the modeling we have done … we have to find a great place. “
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Several large-scale events have already been canceled in British Columbia. this year. The Vaisakhi parade in Vancouver, which normally takes thousands of people through the city streets, took place almost Saturday.
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Shortly after Henry’s comments, the Vancouver Pride Society announced that it will be hosting a “Virtual Pride Week Celebration” this summer and is in contact with its suppliers and partners to make arrangements.
“Pride cannot be undone,” said VPS executive director Andrea Arnot in a statement. “Our community has always found resilient ways to adapt to difficult situations – we will adapt together because of it.”
PNE spokesperson Laura Ballance said Saturday that this week would normally have seen the hiring of 2,500 workers for Playland and the PNE Fair in preparation for their summer openings.
Although this hiring has been suspended, she said the CWP is still considering a temporary opening on July 1 – although what exactly that opening involves is still pending.
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“I think everyone recognizes that the situation is very fluid and that each event … does its best to reconcile this moment when it makes sense to postpone or cancel,” she said.
Ballance said the decision could not be made too prematurely, stressing the impact it could have on youth employment and the local economy.
She estimates that the CWP summer events alone bring in $ 85 million to the city of Vancouver each year, while Metro Vancouver sees more than $ 200 million a year in business windfall. the year.
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The SOP must also consider the impact on its suppliers who rely on the events for their own bottom line.
“We have to balance all of these things with the right thing,” she said. “Obviously, we are going to work very, very closely with health authorities and government to make sure we are doing the right thing at the right time. “
Ballance said the PNE is currently modeling a number of scenarios for what an outdoor fair in the middle of a pandemic might look like.
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“There may be opportunities given the size of our site and a number of different things that can allow us to do something,” she said, suggesting that physical distance could still be maintained. limiting crowds and spacing sellers.
She said Henry’s comments did not affect this planning, even if things could change.
Henry said that although many summer plans are different this year, she urged people to remain optimistic while continuing to practice physical distance and find other ways to get together.
“We have to keep that, that the things we are doing right now are not forever,” she said. ” This is not the moment [large events] and it won’t be over this summer, [but] it will be in our future again.
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