On a weekend where British Columbians were repeatedly advised to avoid any large gatherings or parties due to an uptick in coronavirus cases, massive crowds still congregated along Vancouver’s Granville strip on Halloween night.
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Videos of partiers gathering with limited physical distancing surfaced on social media.
Granville street tonight, something tells me coronavirus cases will hit around 400 per day next week. pic.twitter.com/dapEc70dIJ
— Jaxson 🇨🇦 (@brendanpgraber) November 1, 2020
Really cool how Vancouver is just filled with massive idiots congregating on Granville tonight!
🙃🙃🙃🙃🙃🙃 WHY DOESNT ANYONE CARE ABOUT ANYONE ELSE! THIS IS REALLY FRUSTRATING!!! I would like to be able to go see my family SOMETIME NEXT YEAR YOU DINGDONGS pic.twitter.com/7Mv1Fpz14M
— Rosemary Travale (@RosemaryTravale) November 1, 2020
Issuing tickets “wasn’t appropriate”: VPD
Cst. Jason Doucette with the Vancouver Police Department told Daily Hive that extra officers were deployed Halloween night along the Granville Entertainment District.
“We are disappointed that party goers did not listen to the advice of our Public Health Officer and chose to gather in large crowds along the Granville Mall,” he stated.
Doucette added that the majority of the crowds were “peaceful” but there were some who “acted out” and needed to be removed from the area by police.
As for ticketing, Doucette said, “physically attempting to disperse the alcohol fuelled crowd or issue tickets wasn’t appropriate.”
However, the VPD made a “large number of arrests for relatively minor offences such as causing a disturbance.”
“Although there were a number of occasions where the police were met with hostility from the crowd, our officers maintained a professional and balanced approach,” he said.
Dr. Henry advised skipping Halloween parties
In the weeks and days leading up to Halloween, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made clear that British Columbians needed to skip the large functions and stay home.
“We cannot have those big parties where lots of people are getting together — whether it’s young people partying in costumes or the trick-or-treating,” she said in an earlier statement about safely celebrating Halloween.
This week, Henry also tightened up restrictions on in-home get-togethers. She issued a new order limiting gatherings “in private homes to no more than your immediate household, plus your safe six.”
Earlier this month, the BCCDC released a comprehensive set of Halloween guidelines, which emphasized the importance of keeping group interactions small.
“Indoor gatherings, big or small, put people at higher risk of getting COVID-19,” stated the BCCDC.
In August, the Vancouver Police Department intervened when an impromptu dance party broke out on the Granville strip. At that time, the VPD said they were not issuing tickets for non-compliance with social distancing, rather focusing on education.
With files from Eric Zimmer and Vincent Plana.