A jogger on the Stanley Park Seawall captured a jarring scene at Vancouver’s Third Beach Tuesday evening, as more than 100 people gathered at an informal “drum circle.”
Many of them could be seen singing and dancing in close proximity and very few were wearing masks.
Ryan Schaap posted a photo of the gathering online saying he was offended by what he witnessed.
“It just seemed very reckless to me,” Schaap said. “There’s some dangerous behaviour happening and the opposite of what we should be doing.”
On Wednesday, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, as usual, was measured in her reaction.
“Outside is less risky but not zero risk so we’re appealing to people to remember that and keep your group small, keep safe distance from other small groups, then you can enjoy the beaches and the sunsets and the water,” she said.
It’s not the only gathering of its kind garnering negative attention in recent weeks.
A Langford couple captured photos earlier this week showing a large group of young people in very close proximity at Langford Lake. They sent the photos to city hall raising concerns about the lack of social distancing.
“Right away we had a meeting together with our bylaw and we talked about with our senior staff about what can we do now to get our message out,” said Langford Coun. Lillian Szpak.
Langford has doubled its number of bylaw officers through the pandemic and Szpak says they will send them back out to the beach to educate people about distancing requirements. Szpak says she’s not surprised it was young people captured in the photos.
“I can’t say that I blame teenagers, young people in their 20s, for wanting to gather. I think it’s perfectly normal and we want to make sure that we do it in such a way that we stay safe,” she said.
But recent BC CDC data shows the number of COVID-19 cases in people aged 20-29 is on the rise, while other age groups stay relatively stagnant.
Dr. Henry says the best way forward for people like those gathered Tuesday is education.
She is reminding everyone it’s time to go back to what we know works, if we want to flatten our curve once again.