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Waiting is the hardest part for groups hoping B.C.'s limit on large gatherings gets expanded

Last Updated Jun 14, 2020 at 7:02 am PDT

FILE: The Summerset Music & Arts Fesitval is moving to a different format for August 2020. (Courtesy Twitter/@summersetfestca)

A 50-person cap remains on any large gatherings including weddings and concerts to limit the spread of COVID-19

Expanding that limit depends on how soon the province enters Phase 3 of economic recovery

TOWNSHIP OF LANGLEY (NEWS 1130) — Phase 3 of B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan can’t start soon enough for people trying to plan weddings or concerts for more than 50 people.

That limit has only been extended for restaurants and even then, Premier John Horgan says physical distancing rules still apply.

“The 50-person maximum is the result of a public health order put in place by Dr. Bonnie Henry. It’s not just about restaurants. It’s about a whole host of gatherings with large numbers of people. We’ve had very positive results in parts of B.C. –on the Island, in the north, in the Interior, but Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal continue to be showing signs of increasing caseloads –modest numbers to be sure.”

On Friday (June 12), Horgan confirmed the final decision will be made by the Provincial Health Officer.

“We have had cases develop in Fraser Health, for example, because of a family gathering and so, we’re very mindful of the need to be vigilant here and Dr. Henry will be giving direction to, not just restauranteurs, but others in the days ahead.”

One of those others is the director of the Summerset Music and Arts Festival, Annette McArthur, who admits waiting for approval has been stressful.

“The catch-phrase that we’re using is cautiously optimistic because that’s exactly what we are. Of course, we’re hoping that the 50 is increased. Will it be done in time or approved in time, in order for us to be able to put the pieces together?”

She says ticket sales need to start soon for the three-day event to go ahead at the end of August (28-30) under a unique drive-in model.

“This isn’t a festival full of orangutangs and that’s where people are really anxious to know what we’re going to do next. Being in this holding pattern right now can be really frustrating, but we’re just trying to look at it as, ‘It’s just more time for us to be even more prepared.'”

McArthur tells NEWS 1130 she’s confident all their plans will be approved by WorkSafeBC.

“The one thing that we talk about the most is safety in every aspect of what you would see at a drive-in type event.”

She adds a site has already been approved in the Township of Langley, but she’s not ready to dlsclose the location.