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COVID-19 taking away PNE jobs

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Apr 12, 2020 at 7:00 pm PDT

(Courtesy PNE)
Summary

The fair would normally be in the process of hiring about 1,800 people

Another 1,000 would have already been hired and working at Playland

The PNE Fair is still scheduled to open July 1 at Hastings Park

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A century-old Vancouver institution and one of the province’s largest employers of young people isn’t sure it will be able to make those hires this year because of the pandemic.

“We are the largest single-site employer of youth in British Columbia,” said Laura Ballance, media relations for the Pacific National Exhibition. “And we provide a very special service, in the sense that we don’t demand previous experience to get a job.”

Normally, she added, the fair would be in the process of hiring about 1,800 people — primarily youth — for the 110-year-old fair. Another 1,000 would have already been hired and working at Playland, she said.

But Ballance isn’t sure the fair will be able to make those hires this year, which she said is disappointing.

The opening of Playland was delayed due to COVID-19.

Ballance said Playland is now scheduled to open July 1 at Hastings Park, but admits that date is “very fluid.”

The PNE Fair is set to open Aug. 22.

“These are extraordinary times. So much has changed here at the PNE, in our city and around the world in such a short amount of time,” says a recent release from Shelley Frost, PNE president and CEO.

“The PNE is an iconic, 110-year-old, not-for-profit organization and all our events and community programs are funded by the revenues we generate each season through Playland, the PNE Fair and year-round events. Since we do not receive operational funding from government, we are actively mitigating our revenue losses and preparing to ensure we can get back to business as soon as the COVID-19 emergency is behind us.”