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

Boundary hospital ‘ready for a surge,’ hoping it never comes

The emergency department director confirmed there were active COVID-19 cases in the Boundary

Grand Forks and Boundary cancellations, changes due to COVID-19

This newspaper’s list of community events, institutions that change or cancel due to pandemic

COVID-19: Interior Health orders closure of all fitness centres until May 30

The order is subject to revision, cancellation, or extension

Don’t avoid doctor’s office if you need help, say Kootenay Boundary physicians

There are alternatives to coming in physically to offices, docs say

Boundary friends make the best of a birthday in isolation

11-year-old Becca Macfarlane had hoped to go bowling with her friends

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

B.C. unveils $3.5M COVID-19 emergency fund for post-secondary students

Money will help students cover living expenses, food, travel, portable computers

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

Most Read