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Buskers push Vancouver to lift ban on street performances amid pandemic

(iStock Photo)
Summary

Street corners have been a little quieter in Vancouver lately, and local musicians are pushing to change that

Bo Henrik is part of the group that wants the city to overturn its recent ban on street performances

The ban on street performances was implemented by the city because of COVID-19

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A group of local musicians is calling on Vancouver to overturn its indefinite ban on street performing that was introduced during the pandemic.

Bo Henrik is among the group who can’t see the reasoning behind the ban, saying busking can be done safely when performers hand out masks, have sanitizer on hand, and constantly remind people to space out properly.

“It doesn’t really seem to make sense that people who are really relying on busking or playing out on the street corner to make a living that they should lose that,” he says.

The ban was brought in in early September with the city citing public health and physical distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Noting that schools, gyms and restaurants have reopened, Henrik says he wants to see a way for art and music to happen safely, rather than shutting it down completely.

While Henrik doesn’t need street performances to supplement his income, he knows a lot of buskers who do, especially during the pandemic as many regular gigs have dried up.

Henrik argues live music is also great for mental health during the pandemic.

“Being able to go out and see live music and feel connected to other people, it’s one of the only ways you can do that and I would like it to keep existing.”

He points to places like Whistler and Nelson that have dedicated areas that are properly spaced street performances.

Earlier this month, Henrik and others performed a physically distanced protest concert outside the Vancouver Art Gallery to push city hall to include music, entertainment and art in their COVID-19 agenda.

-With files from Ria Renouf