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Don't expect big events to happen any time soon, says B.C.'s Dr. Henry

Last Updated May 4, 2021 at 9:01 am PDT

FILE - A crowd of people at the Queen concert held in Rogers Arena in 2019. (Monika Gul, NEWS 1130 Photo)

B.C.'s top doctor says it's likely we'll see the return of smaller, distanced, outdoor events this summer

'There is not likely to be big events of any sort, even outdoors' through summer, into early next year, says B.C. PHO

Dr. Bonnie Henry says officials are looking at other jurisdictions to get a sense of what events might be possible

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – While there is some optimism in our fight against COVID-19, British Columbians are being told big events are unlikely to take place any time soon.

While we may see the return of some smaller events as more Canadians are vaccinated and COVID-19 numbers drop, the provincial health officer is telling us not to get too ahead of ourselves.

“I can say there is not likely to be big events of any sort, even outdoors, through this summer and into the fall and winter of next year,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday.

“But I can see many situations where we could have smaller, distanced, outdoor events this summer, with perhaps hundreds of people,” she added.

Henry admits there is still a lot we don’t know, and pointed to quickly changing scenarios and spikes in cases in recent months due to variants.

“What we hope, with the program that we’re on now, with the amount of vaccine that we have, is that we will be able to have some, small outdoor events,” she explained.

B.C.’s top doctor says officials are looking at other jurisdictions to get a sense of what might be possible. She points to a recent event in the U.K., where several thousand people went to a government-sanctioned, nightclub-style party to test to see whether physical distancing measures can be eased without creating new COVID-19 outbreaks.

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“People were monitored before and after to see what are the riskiest situations and how would we be able to mitigate those,” she said. “We’re looking at, you know, is there ways that we can do things like that here, recognizing how important some of these festivals, and arts events and cultural events that we’re missing so much. But there will not be big events where there’s lots of crowds of people this summer.”

B.C. is preparing for a surge in vaccine deliveries over the coming months. Henry says she expects that will lead to a ramp up in the province’s vaccine program.