British Columbia

'Give their head a shake': Health minister tells people to avoid dance party planned for Third Beach

Police and park rangers say they will monitor the event planned for Friday evening, which has been advertised around Vancouver.

Police, park rangers say they will monitor event planned for Friday, which has been advertised around city

An image from the website advertising the party, which says that 'Third Beach is the place to be this weekend.' (xp.ciaobenga.com)

B.C.'s health minister says people shouldn't attend an outdoor dance party at Vancouver's Third Beach that's being advertised as "the place to be" this B.C. Day long weekend.

Posters for the Stanley Park event, which is scheduled to begin Friday at 6 p.m. PT, have been spotted around Vancouver. They promote a DJ dance party that includes beer and a barbecue, with the event lasting the "whole night."

"The best fun and friends you can ask for," a corresponding website says. "Get ready for the time of your life."

On Friday morning, Health Minister Adrian Dix was clear in his thoughts about the planned party.

"You ask people to give their head a shake. We're in the middle of a worldwide health emergency,'" Dix said on CBC's The Early Edition.

"I think people shouldn't go," said Dix, adding it's not only beach parties that are of concern this holiday weekend, but also indoor get-togethers where physical distancing isn't always possible.

Ryan Schaap took a photo of the drum circle gathering at Third Beach on July 21. (Ryan Schaap)

Vancouver police say they will be closely monitoring the event, which has a $5 cover charge, especially in light of a drum circle last week that attracted hundreds of people to the same location, and where there was little evidence of physical distancing or face masks.

Dix also referenced exposure events in Kelowna, B.C., around the Canada Day holiday that ultimately led to 130 positive cases of COVID-19.

He acknowledged that people are getting frustrated with the pandemic, but he urged everyone to remain vigilant, especially over this weekend.

"I'm tired of it. You're tired of it. Everybody's tired of it, but we can't wish it away," Dix said.

Adrian Dix says events in and around Kelowna on the Canada Day weekend were responsible for 130 positive cases of COVID-19. (Brady Strachan)

The Vancouver Park Board said Friday's event is unsanctioned and not permitted, and park rangers will be on site monitoring the situation. 

"If there is any risk to public safety, the rangers will notify the Vancouver Police Department," according to a statement from the park board.

Vancouver Coastal Health's chief medical health officer says she has been in contact with the park board to make sure steps are taken to prevent alcohol consumption, which is not permitted on Third Beach.

Dr. Patricia Daly says she doesn't approve of unsanctioned events, even though there has been no evidence of transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 at any outdoor gatherings in recent weeks.

"We do consider it safe to visit restaurants and other places that have safety plans in place," said Daly.

"We're really asking people to avoid, or to think carefully before they socialize with others."

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