B.C. health officials say latest restrictions will mean pause for popular holiday events

© David Horemans/CBC The train in Stanley Park is a popular ride over the Christmas holidays.

Health officials in B.C. say the latest restrictions meant to slow COVID-19 infections will put on hold popular holiday events across the province.

On Thursday, the officials brought in sweeping new measures meant to slow the rate of infections.

They included the suspension of all indoor and outdoor community and social events until Dec. 7, even if they’re under 50 people.

That means holiday-themed events like Vancouver’s Bright Nights in Stanley Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights will not be able to go ahead until at least Dec. 7.

On Friday the Vancouver Park Board initially said it was seeking clarification about what the new orders meant for its events.

On Sunday, Health Minister Adrian Dix confirmed that the two events, and other similar ones, would fall under the new order.

‘Very unfortunate’

“These are great events, all of them and they (like many others) have worked hard to meet the test of the orders pre-last Thursday,” he said in a message to CBC News.

“It is very unfortunate. Obviously, the provincial health officer will be reviewing the impact on COVID-19 over the next two weeks.”

Dix said the new orders are needed now, despite the consequences for holiday events.

“Alas, there are many many gatherings that are beloved and affected.”

© Daniel Beauparlant/CBC The VanDusen Botanical Garden Festival of Lights was set to run from Nov. 27 to Jan. 3 2021.

A Park Board spokesperson said on Sunday that anyone who had already purchased tickets to either event would be able to apply for a refund.

Bright Nights in Stanley Park was scheduled to run from Nov. 26 to Jan. 1, while VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights was set to begin on Nov. 27 and run until Jan. 3.