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B.C.’s top doctor says Langley drive-in theatre subject to coronavirus restrictions

B.C.’s top doctor confirms drive-in theatres, events limited to 50 vehicles
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked multiple questions at Monday's briefing about a ban on events with more than 50 vehicles, such as film screenings at drive-in theatres.

B.C.’s provincial health officer tried to clear up any confusion surrounding Metro Vancouver’s only remaining drive-in theatre.

A joint statement issued Friday from Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said an order restricting mass gatherings to no more than 50 people was “amended to also include no more than 50 vehicles for outdoor drive-in events, with a restriction on the sale of refreshments.”

Prince George pub transforms parking lot into retro drive-in
Prince George pub transforms parking lot into retro drive-in

The operators of Langley’s Twilight Drive-in, which has been sold out most nights with hundreds of vehicles, told Global News they believed the order didn’t apply to them because they are classified as a theatre rather than an event.

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Henry was repeatedly asked about the ban during a Monday press briefing and said drive-ins are subject to the restrictions.

READ MORE: Enderby’s Starlight drive-in theatre seeks clarification if mass gathering vehicle ban applies

“We know that people don’t stay in their cars all the time when you’re at these events and the more people we have, the more chances we have that this virus can spread to a lot of other people,” she said.

B.C. health officials announce 12 new cases in 48-hour period, no cases associated with food facilities
B.C. health officials announce 12 new cases in 48-hour period, no cases associated with food facilities

Allowing more vehicles would make contact tracing more difficult if an outbreak were to occur, she added.

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In an email sent Monday afternoon, the owners of the Twilight Drive-in disputed the classification of their business as a drive-in event, saying it is a brick-and-mortar business with a valid business licence.

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They are asking their customers to press the health ministry for an exemption to the restrictions.

Henry has said there could be a point in the summer when the number of vehicles allowed at an event could expand, but it’s best to take a cautious approach as the province slowly reopens its economy.

“For this phase, it does apply to 50 vehicles, it applies to places like drive-ins. There were a number of events we know that were being planned, some of them were going to be quite large,” she said.

“This is what we need to do right now. This is not forever, but it is for this phase.”