Vancouver police officers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouverites party on the streets, in spite of celebrity messaging

Police say they quickly shut down an impromptu street gathering

Vancouver police say they quickly shut down an impromptu street party that sprung up on Friday night in violation of public health measures.

Deputy Chief Howard Chow says the street was closed to vehicles to make more room for pedestrians, and some “would-be DJs” set up speakers.

He says it drew a crowd, but officers were able to break it up.

Video of the party was shared on social media, and appeared to show a crowd of people dancing in close quarters.

Chow says groups of people have been congregating around music or buskers outside because there aren’t many indoor options available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trend has prompted celebrities to respond to a plea from Premier John Horgan for help with messaging to younger residents about partying during the pandemic.

Vancouver-born actor and comedian Seth Rogen tweeted on Saturday that the “people of British Columbia” should forego parties, barbecues and other gatherings in favour of more low-key activities.

“It’s more fun to hang out alone and smoke weed and watch movies and TV shows anyway!” he wrote. “Do that instead!”

British Columbia has seen a rise in cases over the past week, reporting 85, 78 and 84 new cases on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

Previously, actor Ryan Reynolds lent his voice to the cause.

On Friday he posted a voice recording on Twitter, framed as a voicemail left for Horgan, warning B.C.’s younger residents of the dangers of COVID-19.

“Young folks in B.C., they’re partying, which is of course dangerous,” he said in the recording. “They probably don’t know that thousands of young people aren’t just getting sick of coronavirus, they’re dying of it too.”

He urged them not to kill some of B.C.’s coolest residents — including David Suzuki and Reynold’s mom.

“Let’s not kill anyone,” he said. “I think that’s reasonable.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday that people between the ages of 20 and 29 now make up the group seeing the largest increase of infections.

As of Friday, 4,358 people in British Columbia had tested positive for the virus, the majority of whom have recovered. Public health officials have recorded 196 deaths linked to the virus.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

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