B.C. Premier John Horgan is asking British Columbians to do better when it comes to social distancing as COVID-19 cases spike in B.C.
Horgan spoke to B.C.’s young people on Thursday, voicing his frustration after watching what he called “reckless” behaviour on video of people partying in Kelowna and a drum-circle party at Third Beach in Vancouver.
“Come on, you’re better than that,” he said in Victoria. “We need bigger spaces and fewer faces, we need to make sure we are respecting not just our own space but other people’s space.”
He urged everyone not to get together in big groups with people they don’t know, because they could spread the virus to their parents or grandparents.
“We cannot go back to just regular interactions randomly. We need to be able to contact and trace … and that just doesn’t happen when you are having massive parties on the beach or massive drumming events. This is not the right way to go,” Horgan said. “Don’t be reckless because that recklessness may impact other people.”
Horgan said he is appealing to young people the way he would speak to his own children, who are now in their 30s, by appealing to their common sense and asking them to respect other people.
“If you are going to have a party, and going to have some fun, keep it to the people you know. If someone outside your bubble is participating, keep your distance.”
B.C.’s provincial health officer imposed tougher rules on bars, nightclubs and restaurants Wednesday.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said all patrons would now have to sit at a table, there will be no liquor self-service and no dancing. She said measures will also be put in place to reduce lineups, gatherings and pressure points — plus there will be more inspections and possibly an 11 p.m. closing time.
Also Wednesday, both the park board and Vancouver police said there is little they can do about the drum-circle party on Third Beach, both saying it fell to the province.
Horgan said B.C.’s approach is to appeal to people to do the right thing instead of penalizing them, and that when it comes to outdoor activities they will continue to do this.
The premier again said he doesn’t believe the province moved to Phase 3 of reopening the economy too soon, noting that they anticipated there would be more cases as a result.
He asked the drummers, specifically, to find other places to gather to express their musical creativity, in smaller groups.
“Do it responsibly,” he said. “My appeal to all of you, young and old, is to stay away from other people, keep washing your hands, and if you are sick stay home.”
Horgan congratulated British Columbians on all the hard work to bend the curve and open up the economy, but reminded people that we are still in the middle of a pandemic.