Large events, programs and gatherings are taking a hit in Victoria after the province directed organizers to cancel events with more than 250 people in attendance.
On Thursday Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said seven new cases of COVID-19 were identified in B.C., bringing the provincial total to 53. A North Vancouver man died of the virus Monday.
A joint statement from Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix asks all event organizer to cancel gatherings of more than 250 people including indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meeting, religious gathering and other events.
“This threshold has been selected, as it is much easier to maintain important social distancing to prevent transmission of COVID-19,” they write.
The health officials say they are working with post-secondary institutions with larger class sizes as well as B.C. school districts to create procedures for implementation when classes resume after spring break.
Cancelled and postponed Greater Victoria events
One case of COVID-19 has been reported on Vancouver Island but the pandemic is still having a wide-spread impact. Here’s a list of what’s been cancelled or postponed in the region.
- The Vancouver Island Runners’ Association cancelled the remaining races in the 2020 Island Race Series. The races are the Comox Valley RV Half Marathon (March 22), TriStars Sooke 10K (April 5) and Synergy Health Management Bazan Bay 5K (April 19).
- The three final events of Victoria Beer Week have been cancelled. The local festival cancelled the weekend events Lager Than Life, Street Eats Brewery Tour and Saturday Night Casks. Ticketholders to all of the cancelled events can expect a full refund.
- Cerebral Palsy Association of BC cancelled all programs until Match 31 including Adapted Yoga in Victoria and Dance Without Limits in Victoria.
- Michelle Obama’s speaking event at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre has been postponed. A date for the event, initially set for March 31, has not yet been released. Organizers say tickets will be valid and transferred to the new event date.
- The Civic Orchestra of Victoria has cancelled its upcoming concert set for March 14. The orchestra asks ticket holders to consider holding onto it for the next performance, or to consider the cost a donation to help the organization with the financial costs of cancelling the event.
- Capital City Comic Con has been postponed in an “abundance of caution.” Organizers released a statement Thursday saying it was not a decision taken lightly. The event was scheduled from March 20 to 22 at the Victoria Conference Centre and Crystal Garden. A new date has not yet been determined.
- Ballet BC’s Romeo and Juliet performances, scheduled for March 13 and 14 at the Royal Theatre have been cancelled following the provincial directive. In a statement, Dance Victoria said it “needs time to assess the impacts of these performances cancellations” and will be communicating personally with each ticket buyer.
- Organizers of the Highlands Music Coffee House have cancelled events for March and April. The situation will be monitored heading into May and June.
- The 2020 TC 10K run has been cancelled for the first time in three decades. Organizers say there is no obligation to transfer to the 2021 race but no 2020 refunds will be given.
- The Beacon Hill Children’s Farm is temporarily closed to the public and volunteers to minimize the risk of COVID-19. The animals will still be at the farm to be looked after and visitors can see them through the fence, organizers say. The farm’s website says there has been no contamination at the farm.
- BC Hockey has cancelled its national championships and all BC Hockey provincials and playoffs until further notice. The shutdown will impact all B.C. minor hockey academies, the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, Pacific International Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League, which includes the Victoria Royals.
- Theatres around Greater Victoria have made the decision to pause operations amid the pandemic, with the Royal McPherson Theatre Society closing its performance venues to the public until further notice. A notice posted on their website Thursday night said ticket holders would be contacted about their options.
- The Victoria Sketch Club has cancelled its annual Art Show and Sale, scheduled for March 17 to 22 at Glenlyon Norfolk School’s Beach Drive campus. The school is closed for cleaning while it awaits the results of a potential COVID-19 test.
- The annual Emergency Preparedness Fair at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre has been cancelled. The fair was scheduled for May 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- The War Amps 2020 BC Child Amputee Seminar, scheduled to start March 13, has been cancelled.
Victoria events and programs going ahead
- The Art Gallery of Victoria is still operating, with heightened cleaning and sanitizing protocols. However, it has cancelled the March 20 Urbanite event.
- The Royal BC Museum and IMAX theatre remain open to the public.
- Saanich Parks and Recreation and Community Services is open to the public. The District says it is monitoring credible sources and asks staff and residents to take preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
– With files from Tom Fletcher.
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