THURSDAY, MARCH 12 UPDATE:
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11 UPDATE:
Former president of Vancouver’s Khalsa Diwan Society’s Ross Street Gurdwara Kashmir Singh Dhaliwal told The VOICE on Wednesday that the gurdwara leaders are meeting with the City of Vancouver officials regarding the April 18 Vaisakhi Parade.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry merely spoke vaguely about a “risk-assessment” process to decide whether any event would be held.
The Gurdwaras are apparently waiting for the Cities (Vancouver and Surrey) to tell them that they can’t or shouldn’t hold the Parades, while the City staff tells us that it is up to the Health Authorities (Fraser and Vancouver Coastal) to advise the Cities. The Fraser Health Authority tells us that any decision on the Parades will come from the BC Centre for Disease Control that is in charge of anything related to the novel corona virus. We have asked the Centre for a response.
SPECULATION regarding the holding of North America’s largest Vaisakhi Parades (Nagar Kirtans) in B.C.’s Lower Mainland has started in view of the deadly spread of the novel coronavirus all around the world.
The VOICE has been receiving inquiries about this matter and it’s up to Vancouver’s Khalsa Diwan Society (Ross Street Gurdwara) and Surrey’s Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar authorities to come up with a decision.
Surrey’s Vaisakhi Parade attracts half a million people and is the largest in the world outside India. Vancouver’s Vaisakhi Parade has been the historical one with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attending last year.
Health Minister Adrian Dix and B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry last Saturday said: “There has been a notable transmission of COVID-19 at events, such as religious gatherings. As a result, we recommend social distancing and forgoing usual greetings. As an alternative, we recommend considering virtual online gatherings.”
Meanwhile, the Sikh Press Association from the U.K. said in an email: “Sikh establishments have been preparing to handle the coronavirus spread. Gurdwara Aid have released a guidance poster (https://twitter.com/SikhPA/status/1233508954736594946) whilst one of the biggest annual Sikh gatherings outside of India – Southall Nagar Kirtan – has been cancelled too.”