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Surrey RCMP urges small, COVID-safe Vaisakhi celebrations this weekend

Click to play video: 'Pandemic once again forces changes to B.C. Vaisakhi celebrations' Pandemic once again forces changes to B.C. Vaisakhi celebrations
WATCH: For the second year in a row, one of B.C.'s largest cultural events is looking a lot different - thanks to COVID. And while there won't be the massive crowds we're used to seeing at the Vaisakhi parades, there will be different types of celebrations. Catherine Urquhart explains – Apr 13, 2021

Surrey RCMP is reminding the community to keep COVID-19 protocols front and centre, as it prepares to celebrate Vaiskahi.

The spring celebration, which marks the Punjabi new year and the foundation of the Sikh faith, has had to forego its iconic mass street festival for the second consecutive year due to the pandemic.

Read more: Pandemic forces changes to B.C. Vaisakhi celebrations for second consecutive year

Mounties say while the the traditional Surrey Vaisakhi Khalsa Day Parade and festival have been put on hold, they expect there to be a number of smaller celebrations, and are urging participants to stick to COVID-19 health orders and ensure safety is paramount.

Under B.C.’s restrictions, indoor gatherings are strictly banned, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.

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Virtual Vaisakhi event sparks dialogue during Sikh Heritage Month BC – Apr 11, 2021

Police are reminding people that there must be space for people to maintain two metres of distance, hand sanitizer must be available, and that no one is allowed inside a residence unless they live there or are using the washroom.

If one of the attendees leaves, they cannot be replaced by a new person.

READ MORE: Annual Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey, B.C., cancelled for the 2nd year

Police say their COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team will be stepping up patrols throughout the weekend to enforce public health orders and maintain public safety.

Anyone who wants to report a violation can call the Surrey Bylaw call centre at 604-591-4370 or the RCMP non-emergency line 604-599-0502.

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Surrey’s Vaisakhi event is considered the largest of its kind outside of India, and regularly draws more than half a million attendees.

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