Holiday events in Vancouver face uncertainty amid new COVID-19 restrictions – BC


Some major Lower Mainland vacation events are scrambling over whether and how they will be able to operate under British Columbia’s new COVID-19 restrictions.The sweeping health order was unveiled on Thursday, amid rising COVID-19 cases due to transmission spikes in metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

The order prohibits social gatherings of any type province-wide and restricts community events until December 7.

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The uncertainty surrounding the order on Friday prompted the Pacific National Expo to take a hiatus from the event behind the wheel of Best Buy Tech Wonderland.

Spokeswoman Laura Balance said the PNE is seeking clarification from the province and Vancouver Coastal Health about the event and the upcoming WinterLights drive-through.

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Libra said she was “cautiously optimistic” that the event would still get the green light, given the PNE’s previous success with the events during the pandemic.

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“Since the start of the summer, the PNE has really led the country in drive-through experiences, ones that adhere to all social distancing protocols and are developed under supervision, and that truly adhere to all best practices. recommended by all health authorities. , ” she says.

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Visitors to the event will need to stick to their home bubble and stay in their vehicle at all times, she said.

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Participants will also need to wear masks, she added.

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“We are, we think, well beyond the protocols that have been recommended, we will obviously wait and see.”

The Vancouver Park Board of Directors is also looking to clarify what the order for the upcoming VanDusen Festival of Lights and Bright Nights Christmas train in Stanley Park means.

“We are optimistic,” said park board spokesperson Christine Ulmer.

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“We went through a very thorough safety protocol and planning process, and we worked with Vancouver Coastal Health as well as the provincial health officer on the new safety plan.

“We had special exemptions for these two events to work, so we’re just not sure if those exemptions will still apply or we’ll have to make some significant changes – or in the worst case, to reverse the events of the year. ”

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The VanDusen event is being reduced to around 20% of its normal capacity, will be strictly outdoors and visitors will have time limits, she said.

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Activities such as photos with Santa Claus, which traditionally caused bottlenecks, have been dropped.

The Stanley Park event, which raises funds for the BC Professional Firefighters Burn Fund, will not have firefighters in attendance, and plexiglass has been installed to keep people separate, she said.

Masks will be needed at both events, if given the green light, she added.

Ulmer said the number one priority remains safety, but added that she hopes events can unfold to add a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy winter.

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“For many Vancouverites and people who come from all over the region this is a tradition,” she said.

“It really signals the holidays and a sense of normalcy for people at a time when things are anything but normal.”

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If the ordinances took effect Thursday, their detailed text has not yet been published.

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