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COVID-19: Party held on Kitsilano Beach as B.C. hits record hospitalizations


‘It felt like a competition,’ says a shocked Kitsilano resident of the seaside social gathering Friday night time.

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As B.C. grapples with a report variety of COVID-19 hospitalizations and a surge within the extra contagious variants of the coronavirus, a dance social gathering was held Friday night on a crowded Kitsilano Seashore in contravention of public well being orders.

The seaside social gathering occurred on the identical day B.C. well being officers urged individuals not collect in massive teams this weekend due to the variants. It was additionally the identical day as Ontario went into lockdown, banning outside gatherings all collectively.

Beryl Pye, a resident within the space, mentioned she was driving a motorcycle with a pal Friday shortly earlier than 8 p.m. and was horrified to see dozens of individuals crowded collectively dancing to loud music on the seaside.

Beneath the general public well being order, not more than 10 persons are allowed to get collectively outdoors, and ought to be spaced two metres aside until they’re from the identical family.

“There was an enormous line up for the loos like I’ve by no means seen,” mentioned Pye on Saturday.

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“We sat away from the seaside on a peninsula of grass after which a full on dance social gathering with loud music began on the seaside. I needed to take a video as a result of it upset me a lot. There was no police presence in any respect! It felt like a competition.”

Minister of Public Security Mike Farnworth mentioned it was “completely irritating and disappointing” to see individuals blatantly disregarding the general public well being orders, particularly with the case counts rising.

“The overwhelming majority of British Columbians are following the foundations.  This can be a good time to take the chance to remind family and friends that you would be able to be fined for not following these orders,” he mentioned, in an emailed assertion Saturday.

Police and provincial compliance and enforcement officers are issuing fines and, the place the allegations are egregious, police are recommending prices, he added.

Kirsten Langdan, spokesperson for town of Vancouver, mentioned Saturday that there had been two noise complaints particularly about Kits Seashore over the previous two days. Between April 10 and April 16, there have been 368 COVID-related complaints to 311.

On Friday, B.C. recorded greater than 1,000 new COVID instances, six extra deaths, and a 3rd straight day of report hospitalizations, with 425 individuals in hospital with the coronavirus, surpassing the report of 409 set Thursday.

Out of hospitalized sufferers, 127 are in intensive care, up two from yesterday.

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Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Tania Visintin mentioned police weren’t known as out to the seaside and no fines had been issued. She mentioned Vancouver metropolis park rangers have the authority to problem tickets and can be on the parks Saturday. The VPD will help if wanted, she added.

Different social media customers posted pictures to Twitter and Instagram saying Kits Seashore was exceptionally crowded Friday. Seashores and trails are prone to be packed in Metro Vancouver this weekend with the sunny climate, and temperatures anticipated to hit the mid-20s in some areas.

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The province introduced measures final summer season that present elevated powers for police to implement provincial well being orders at events and outside gatherings.

Vancouver metropolis enforcement employees and park rangers present schooling about compliance with provincial well being orders and may problem tickets on the metropolis’s seashores, parks, bars, eating places, and companies providing private companies.

The town recommends residents report all complaints and issues by way of VanConnect or by calling 311.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial well being officer, mentioned spending time outdoors is essential for bodily and psychological well-being however being outdoors is just not with out danger.

“Even when we’re outdoors, we have to keep small and proceed to make use of our layers of safety. This implies conserving a secure distance and carrying masks, particularly if somebody is greater danger for severe sickness,” she mentioned.

“Be purposeful about who you’re seeing and the place you’re going, and keep on with the identical shut contacts.”

Meantime, Mounties in Surrey are urging Vaisakhi celebrants and Kissan supporters to comply with public well being orders this weekend.

Giant-scale Vaisakhi celebrations have been cancelled once more this 12 months in Surrey due to the pandemic, nevertheless it’s anticipated that there’ll nonetheless be many small COVID-friendly celebrations.

Surrey RCMP says officers are additionally conscious of Kissan rallies and a Sikh bike occasion set to happen this weekend.

Officers can be conducting elevated patrols all through the weekend in Surrey and implementing the well being orders.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

-with a file from Cheryl Chan

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