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No exceptions: all B.C. drive-ins limited to 50 vehicles

The Starlight Drive-in theatre in Enderby is pictured in this July 22, 2019 file photo.
May 25, 2020 - 4:05 PM

All drive-ins are expected to restrict the number of vehicles to 50, including Enderby’s Starlight Drive-in.

“It’s a challenging situation when you have large numbers of vehicles,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today, May 25, facing multiple questions about whether there were any exceptions to the order that came down on Friday.

“This is what we need to do right now — this is not forever but it is for this phase. We need to be consistent.”

Fifty is the magic number for all gatherings in B.C. these days and Henry said there’s no real science behind it. That said, it works and provides a consistent framework.

Dr. Bonnie Henry May 25.
Dr. Bonnie Henry May 25.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/BC Government

“It is a rational approach and we want to be consistent across all of our venues when we're talking about gatherings and events,” she said.

Dr. Henry also pointed out that people inevitably mingle.

“We know that people don't stay in their cars all the time when you're at these events, and the more people we have, the more chances there are that this virus can spread to a lot of other people.”

If there was a threat of COVID-19 exposure, greater numbers at events would make contact tracing much more challenging, she said.

“We will be continually revising and reviewing how these things happen over the coming weeks, and it certainly is possible that we could look at safe ways of having larger numbers, but I think we need to be more cautious,” she said.

“We do not want to go back to where we were. We do not want to put to waste all of the efforts that we have done as a community across this province.”

She said people need to keep what’s at risk in mind.

“Take a deep breath and realize... it’s about trying to have a reasonable approach that we can sustain that we're not going to put people at risk over the coming weeks and months,” she said.

The threat of COVID-19 has not moved on despite the curve flattening.

"We have made significant progress as you can see, and I'm encouraged that our new cases our new numbers continue to track low, although we still have ongoing challenges with our outbreaks," she said.

"None of us want that — we need to keep our curve flat.”

Further easing of restrictions relies on shared commitment and effort.

“That means working together, recognizing that we all have our own challenges and experiences and continue to be tolerant and generous and respectful with each other,” she said.

“So let's keep going. Let's keep doing what we need to do in a thoughtful and careful way, and keep being kind, and being calm and stay safe."

There were 12 new cases over the weekend, raising the total to 2,530.

There are 267 active cases and 37 hospitalizations, seven of whom are in acute care. B.C. had four new deaths due to COVID-19, raising the total to 161.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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