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

SD72 receives $2.2-million for capital projects from the province

Approved projects include roof replacements, mechanical upgrades and bus replacements

City of Campbell River opening more public washrooms

It’s also turning on water for community gardens

ICET emergency business relief coming

Two programs will be offered for businesses starting in April

Strathcona Regional District initiative helps get food to the vulnerable

Initiative will help fund set up and operations of services

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

Campbell River community COVID-19 agencies, services and resources list

The list outlines status of social agencies in the community

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

COVID-19: Vancouver Islander celebrates 90th birthday with Model T ride as neighbours line streets

WATCH: Pandemic ruined plans for a party, so Francesca Dawe’s friends got creative

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Most Read