This week, British Columbians’ ears peaked as health officials announced some of the current social contact restrictions set to curb COVID-19 could be eased by mid-May.
But for those still holding out that summer will include major events like the Pride parade or trips to the fair, B.C.’s provincial health officer says that won’t be happening.
“Realistically, we will not be having those big events where people gather together this summer,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a news conference on Saturday (April 18).
“That is a much riskier prospect than ever before. We do not have enough herd immunity or community immunity to protect everybody and allow that type of event to happen.”
Henry said this will likely be the case for any countries hit by the novel coronavirus.
“This is a challenging time around our world and it’s not going to be easy for us to get out of it, but those those types of large, mass-gatherings where we have lots of people together, this is not the time for that.”
For those planning to get married this summer, Henry suggested reducing guest lists or trying to celebrate virtually. Funerals and other family gatherings where hugging and sharing food are typical are also risky.
“I know it’s really hard to think about having these events without getting together but we’ve found some really innovative ways of doing that,” Henry continued.
Since the province banned events larger than 50 attendees, many people have turned to elopements instead of postponing weddings, while others have celebrated birthdays and other milestones through online video calling.
It’s unclear if that ban will be lifted as the province looks to ease certain restrictions in the coming weeks and months. Health officials have cautioned that a certain level of physical distancing and other measures will be in place until there is a vaccine.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters that the federal government is planning for the traditional Canada Day celebration at Parliament Hill in Ottawa to be replaced with a virtual event, which will include Canadian artists.
Henry reiterated that steps taken now will allow for British Columbians to see normalcy in the future.
“The things we are doing right now are not forever.”