DELTA (NEWS 1130) — While federal and provincial health officials plead with people to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small, Delta’s mayor says he’s frustrated there’s nothing in place preventing someone from hosting a crowd of up to 50 people at their home.
George Harvie has written to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urging her to lower the cap on the number of people who can congregate at a private residence from 50 to 10.
“We’re having six people here for Thanksgiving,” Harvie says of his own family’s plans.
“But we could have a party here at my house with up to 50 guests, it just doesn’t sync with what we’re trying to do now.”
Delta is currently facing an outbreak of the virus at the city’s hospital where seven people have died since mid-September, and Harvie says this highlights the urgency of doing everything possible to curb community transmission.
“One of the problems we’re having is the current allowance with the provincial regulations for gatherings of up to 50 people. It’s being abused at times — not much — but it is abused at times in our residential areas,” he says.
“We’re concerned that we need a smaller number, it just doesn’t make sense with the known community transmission of the COVID virus to allow numbers that high.”
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Harvie says the vast majority of people are sacrificing birthday parties, funerals, and other important gatherings.
However, he says a strict public health order is necessary for the few who flout advice.
“I know other mayors are having similar problems. We just need the province to reconsider it, and allow us to ensure that we can actually stop these events before they happen,” he says.
With an election underway and the government in “caretaker mode” Harvie says pushing for change is challenging. However, Henry still has the power to issue or amend public health orders.
“All we’re asking for from the Provincial Health Officer is just to reexamine the number 50 that you’re allowed in a residential property,” he says.