An amazing weekend of warm weather for most of B.C., unfortunately, led to more large groups gathering at English Bay in Vancouver on Sunday night.
A large crowd had gathered on the beach around 8 p.m. with many people dancing and drinking.
Two musical groups were also performing and attracting people to gather around.
“Gathering in parties where you are close together, drinking, not being masked up, not observing social distancing is a recipe to spread COVID,” Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth told Global News.
“These people who are doing this are incredibly irresponsible.”
Vancouver police officers were not spotted at the beach but the department said they have to prioritize what their officers can attend.
“Vancouver is a major city with lots going on and we have to prioritize our calls,” Const. Tania Visintin with Vancouver police said. “We will respond when they come in but we have to prioritize. Domestic (calls) come in, mental health calls, assaults and whatnot.”
This Sunday night gathering was just the latest that happened over the weekend.
Lots of people also gathered at English Bay on Friday and Saturday nights with people dancing and hugging — many of them not wearing a mask.
On Sunday, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart weighed in on the issue, tweeting he understands the city has faced a long, frustrating winter but that “now is not the time to be gathering in large groups.”
Stewart said he’d spoken with Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer and that police would be “reassessing their approach to outdoor parties.” But he added that police have better things to do, noting officers were responding to a homicide at the same time as the party at English Bay.
“So instead of adding to their plate, putting yourself & others at risk, and adding stress to our health care system, stay close to home and out of large groups,” Stewart wrote.
The province has permitted outdoor social gatherings of up to 10 people.
Public health experts maintain that COVID-19 is primarily spread indoors and that outdoor gatherings significantly reduce the risk of transmission.
However, health officials have repeatedly pleaded with people to keep their gatherings small and with a consistent group of people, keep their distance and mask up when distancing is not possible.
—with files from Simon LittleView link »