Interior Health says a planned mass float down the South Thompson River in early August must abide by provincial health orders, limiting guests to 50 people, and the local health authority has reached out to the individual who posted the event, urging them to cancel.
“We have seen that a few gatherings can unintentionally cause a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases,” Interior Health said in an email statement.
“Everyone’s priority right now should be to bend the curve in Interior Health back.”
Interior Health said the Facebook event, which has about 100 confirmed attendees and more than 900 people interested, would be considered an event under Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order for gatherings and events. That order limits attendees to 50 people.
“As Dr. Bonnie Henry has said, we want people to get outside and enjoy their summer,” the statement said. “But we want them to do it safely.”
The potential party has raised the ire of some Valleyview residents, concerned about rising cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia. In addition to Interior Health reaching out to the organizers online to cancel, the city’s bylaws and RCMP are also aware of the proposed event, the statement reads.
The city’s bylaws department told KTW earlier this week it was looking into the event and the city’s top staffer said the event was not a good idea. Coun. Dale Bass, who is deputy mayor while Ken Christian is away, also said she was concerned.
Bass said it is not clear how attendees will physically distance setting up for the event in a small area, at the Valleyview boat launch.
Meanwhile, event organizers continue to post about the event online. One of the latest posts in the last day states: “Getting closer to the float date!! Just a friendly reminder that we are still in a pandemic so please use caution while on the water. The boat launch is not that big of a space so please be careful and patient while waiting for others to blow up their floaties and enter water area. Please do not tie up floaties together unless you are immediate family sharing the same household.”
The number of COVID-19 cases has been on the rise in British Columbia, and cases in the Interior spiked following a series of gatherings in the Okanagan earlier this month.
With August long weekend approaching, Interior Health also noted that floating down the river has been a summer tradition in Kamloops and stressed safety, for anyone who may choose to do so.
“We are urging people to take extra consideration and care entering the long weekend and the weeks ahead,” the statement reads.
“Keep your groups small and to people you know — to your bubble — and avoid larger gatherings before and after your float. Maintain your distance from other groups.”