Dr. Bonnie Henry, Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix speak on a conference call with hundreds of religious leaders, March 11, 2020. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Weddings, big gatherings have to stop, B.C.’s COVID-19 doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry calls for alternatives to live ‘celebrations and ceremonies’

Weddings, funerals and other “celebrations and ceremonies” need to be held without physical gathering as B.C. braces for what might be the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

In her March 25 daily update showing B.C. cases up to 659, Henry repeated a plea to faith and spiritual leaders that was first made by Premier John Horgan on March 11 to avoid close gatherings including “celebrations and ceremonies.”

The next two weeks are particularly important to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, and her order for a maximum of 50 people is a general guide for what can be managed with sufficient physical distance between people, Henry said.

“This is not an order of convenience,” she said. “It is something that is required to protect people, and we know that 50 is not an absolute number. It is the maximum, but we know smaller is better.

“We need to continue to not meet in groups, even groups of 10, even groups of 20. Small groups, even two and three, can sometimes be that transmission point.”

RELATED: B.C. closes camping, day services in provincial parks

RELATED: 55 B.C. health care workers have tested positive so far

A sunny weekend with beach gatherings and reports of outdoor weddings prompted the call for stricter rules on gatherings. The B.C. government also closed several of its more popular provincial parks where people were collecting in large numbers, and shut down campsites, washrooms and day-use facilities across the province.

There have been reports of packed house parties attended by police, who are also at risk of exposure to COVID-19 as they enforce public health orders in a state of emergency.

Henry urged people to “connect virtually,” as people have been doing with video links and in cities, staging neighbourhood celebrations to play music or applaud the efforts of people working through the pandemic.

“We need to have a safe space between us for the next little while,” Henry said. “And that includes celebrations and ceremonies. I recognize when communities are in a crisis, having celebrations, having ceremonies is our way of helping to cope, helping to understand what’s going on with these critical times.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

More than 100 apartments for seniors approved in Nanaimo’s hospital area

Development permit issued for 1125 Seafield Cres.

Outreach team making connections with young people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre youth advisory council initiative offers ‘no-barrier’ help downtown

Alzheimer’s society offering online support for caregivers in Nanaimo

Webinars explore ‘mindfulness’ in caring for dementia patients

Shopping resumes aboard Nanaimo ferry sailings

B.C. Ferries reopens gift shops on Queen of Cowichan and Queen of Oak Bay

City of Nanaimo reports on its salaries, expenses and payments

Municipality files statement of financial information with B.C. government

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Nanaimo RCMP want speeding motorists to ‘slow the blazes down’

Police raise alarm after seeing 400-per cent rise in excessive speeding tickets last month

City of Nanaimo takes inventory of its land for official community plan review

Report recommends high-density residential development, identifies shortage of industrial land

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

VIU faculty members looking at COVID-19 impacts on communities

Vancouver Island University’s research award committee funds nine projects

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Most Read