As concern about the novel coronavirus grows, major public events are faced with tough questions about whether to postpone, cancel or go ahead with their plans.
On Thursday, March 12, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged event organizers to cancel any gathering involving more than 250 people.
The directive came a day after Washington state Governor Jay Inslee banned all public gatherings of more than 250 people in the Seattle area.
In B.C., some major events, such as Vancouver’s Rugby Sevens, have elected to go ahead.
Dozens of others, including the Surrey Vaisakhi Parade and the Vancouver Sun Run have pulled the plug.
Here’s how the coronavirus has affected B.C. events so far. This page will be regularly updated.
- Vancouver Folk Festival
- Surrey Vaisakhi Parade, April 25
- Babar Shaheed memorial annual sports tournament, May 16, 17, 18
- Vancouver 4/20, April 20
- Vancouver Sun Run, April 19
- TC10K, Victoria, April 26
- BMO Marathon, May 3
- BC Place, all events including Playdome Carnival
- Science World, Vancouver’s science world is closed until April 6
- 2020 Women’s World Curling Championship, Prince George, March 14 to March 22
- Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, all in-person events, meetings, committees until the end of April. Organizers working to move events to phone or online.
- 2020 Canadian Ski Championships, Vernon B.C., March 25 to April 2
- Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival: Sakura Days Japan Fair at VanDusen Gardens, April 18 and April 19
- UBC Physics Olympics, March 7
- Rogers Hometown Hockey: North Vancouver, Campbell River
- Vancouver Symphony Orchestra: All performances through to April 5 have been cancelled or postponed
- City of Vancouver events: Shen Yun at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, March 13; Chopin Society at the Vancouver Playhouse, March 13: Dina Yoffe, March 13; The Beethoven Experience at the Orpheum, March 13; Universal Gospel Choir at the Vancouver Public Library, March 14; VCC Jazz at the Vancouver Public Library, March 16; Stanley Park Easter Train, April 9-13; Easter Eggspedition at VanDusen Gardens, April 10-12
- Vancouver Opera: Performances and programming for the remainder of the 2019/2020 season have been cancelled
- BC Legislature: Group events and spring break programming March 16-27
- Vancouver Art Gallery: closed until further notice
- Vancouver Aquarium: All programming cancelled until further notice as of March 17
- Michael Dunahee “Tournament of Hope” Aug. 7, 8 and 9 in Victoria.
- PBR Canada’s Monster Energy Tour, Oct. 17 in Abbotsford. Ticket holders will be able to receive a refund.
- City of Port Coquitlam events: May Days celebration, Volunteer Recognition Awards, Farmers Market opening
- Vancouver TED Conference, April 20 to April 24 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Event rescheduled to July 20 to July 26, 2020
- Women’s Rugby 7s tournament, Langford, May 2 to 3. New date TBA
- Vancouver Monster Jam, March 14 and March 15. New date TBA
- BC Teachers’ Federation AGM, March 14 to March 17
- Vancouver International Auto Show, March 25-29. New date TBA
- Sport BC Athlete of the Year Awards, March 12. New date TBA
- UBC Holi spring festival, March 14. New date TBA
- Asia-Pacific Association for International Education Conference, March 22 to March 26. Event rescheduled for March 2021
- B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation For Children We Care Gala, March 7. New date TBA
- The Surrey Board of Trade has postponed or cancelled all March events and meetings, including the Surrey Women in Business Awards, which was scheduled for March 12 and has now been postponed
- Sources Foundation 25th Anniversary Fundraising Gala, April 25. Event rescheduled to Nov. 7, 2020
- Vancouver Olympic Cauldron lighting, 10-year Paralympic anniversary, March 12. New date TBA
- Canadian Blood Services, all group swabbing events
- Hope International Vancouver Film Premiere and Gala. New date TBA
- Ride to Conquer Cancer, postponed to Aug. 28 and 29, 2021
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- Collingwood School (Vancouver), until March 30
- St. Francis of Assisi School (Vancouver), until March 30
- Notre Dame Regional Secondary School (Vancouver), until March 30
- Coast Meridian Elementary (Surrey), March 11
- Glenlyon Norfolk School (Victoria), until March 31
Many post-secondary schools in B.C. are shifting to online or remote classes, some of them after a brief suspension of in-person classes.
A full list of affected universities and colleges can be found here.
Vancouver Sun Run
The 2020 Vancouver Sun Run has been cancelled, organizers said Thursday.
“The health and safety of registrants, staff and volunteers is our top priority, and at this time, several health agencies in North America have recommended cancelling large gatherings,” reads a statement from race organizers.
The National Hockey League said on Thursday that it has suspended its season immediately due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In light of ongoing developments resulting from the coronavirus, and after consulting with medical experts and convening a conference call of the Board of Governors, the National Hockey League is announcing today that it will pause the 2019-20 season beginning with tonight’s games,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
The National Hockey League Players’ Association called the decision “an appropriate course of action at this time.”
The NHL decision comes less than 24 hours after the NBA suspended its schedule “until further notice” in the wake of its first player testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s season has been put on hold.
Major League Soccer (MLS) announced the decision to suspend the season for 30 days starting on March 12.
The league said it was consulting about the risk with its medical task force and public officials, and would communicate the next steps in the coming weeks.
Canada Soccer has cancelled all upcoming games in B.C. between March 27 and April 14.
The Men’s National Team was scheduled to play Trinidad and Tobago on March 27 and March 31 at Westhills Stadium in Victoria.
The Women’s National Team was scheduled to play Australia on April 14 at BC Place.
2020 World Women’s Curling Championship
The World Curling Federation has cancelled the World Women’s Curling Championship 2020 in Prince George, B.C. due to the ongoing spread of novel coronavirus.
“It’s with regret we’re announcing it is no longer possible to run this world championship,” World Curling Federation President Kate Caithness said.
Health Minister Adrian Dix and B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recommended the event be postponed.
The National Lacrosse League said Thursday that it has suspended play until further notice.
The Western Hockey League has suspended the rest of its season “until further notice.”
Minor and Junior hockey
Hockey Canada says it has suspended all Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities, including its national championship until further notice.
The suspension includes junior level games in the the BC Hockey League (BCHL), as well as minor hockey in British Columbia.
BC Soccer says it is directing all members and affiliated clubs to suspend all sanctioned soccer activities until further notice as of March 13.
The directive covers competitions, training, practices, matches, coach and referee education and team-building activities.
The following companies have announced they are either closing their retail stores or limiting their operating hours (full details can be found on their websites):
- Lush (closed March 16-29)
- Lululemon (closed March 16-27)
- Anthropolgie (closed until March 28)
- Starbucks (no seating, “to-go” only until at least March 29)
- Mountain Equipment Co-op (limiting store hours)
- Freedom Mobile/SHAW retail stores through March 27
- YYOGA closed for at least one week effective March 16
- Aritzia closing retail locations effective Monday, March 16 until further notice.
–With files from Josh Elliott