COVID-19 has forced Vancouver Island legion branches to cancel in-person Remembrance Day ceremonies.
At least two Vancouver Island-based Royal Canadian Legion Branches have announced that planned ceremonies on Remembrance Day will not be going ahead this year due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in B.C.
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 160 Comox said its planned ceremony for invited guests only would be cancelled while Branch 171 Ladysmith said its small invite-only indoor service that was to be streamed live over Facebook on Wednesday would be cancelled as well.
The announcements come after Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, recently said indoor gatherings for Remembrance Day should not take place this year as COVID-19 infections continue to climb.
B.C./Yukon Command also sent out a letter to all region branches instructing them to cancel any events planned following Remembrance Day commemorations and urged branches to stay closed for the entire day.
“Comrades, the days and weeks ahead bring much uncertainty; while it pains me to ask our command to take such drastic action, it is our duty to do our part and keep our veterans, members and communities safe,” Val MacGregor, B.C./Yukon Command president, said in a letter sent to all branches.
Wreath laying will still take place during the morning of Remembrance Day at the Ladysmith Cenotaph, however, no official ceremony is scheduled, according to Branch 171.
Branch 160 has said wreaths will be placed at the Comox Cenotaph on Wednesday and members of the public can leave poppies on the cross throughout the day.
B.C. reported 567 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and has reported nearly 2,500 cases in less than seven days.
This story will be updated if more Remembrance Day events are cancelled.