Vancouver and Surrey cancel all gatherings larger than 250 people

FOLLOWING Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s direction effective Thursday that all event organizers cancel any gathering larger than 250 people, the cities of Vancouver and Surrey announced that all such gatherings will be postponed or cancelled.

Dix and Henry added: “This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings or other similar events. This threshold has been selected, as it is much easier to maintain important social distancing to prevent transmission of COVID-19.”

The City of Vancouver said it is currently reviewing all events and programs. Shows scheduled for March 12 and March 13 at Vancouver civic theatres – Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the Vancouver Playhouse and Orpheum – are cancelled

City run events, permitted events, or gatherings booked by third party organizers are all currently under review.

The City of Vancouver continues to work with internal and external partners, including Vancouver Coastal Health, on a proactive approach to deal with COVID-19.

The City of Vancouver is also:

·       Increasing cleaning protocols at all City of Vancouver, Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver Public Library facilities

·       Posting signage at all facilities reminding both members of the public and staff to stay away if they are feeling sick  

·       Activating the City Business Continuity plans to ensure we can maintain our core City services, such as water, sewers, police and fire.

·       Ensuring business critical staff have the right tools should they need to work from home

·       Working with the business community to assess and understand economic impact and potential strategies

·       Responding to questions from the public and our staff, and re-directing to Vancouver Coastal Health as needed

SURREY Mayor Doug McCallum said: “I know this step will impact many people, but this decision has been made in the best interests of those who live, work, or visit Surrey. I want to assure you that City staff will be continually assessing the situation and will take appropriate measures when the risk level change. We are in extraordinary times and I strongly encourage everyone to do their part to mitigate the risk of exposure or transmission of the coronavirus.”

The City of Surrey is working closely with the Fraser Health Authority, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to monitor and to respond to the situation.