Social media images of large parties in Vancouver’s downtown on Halloween night, Oct. 31, 2020.

Social media images of large parties in Vancouver’s downtown on Halloween night, Oct. 31, 2020.

Halloween crowds gather in Downtown Vancouver despite B.C. top doctor’s plea to avoid parties

Police said large, alcohol fuelled crowds made dispersing people not a practical solution

Hundreds of people gathered on the streets of Vancouver’s downtown on Halloween night despite calls from B.C.’s top doctor to avoid parties.

Videos posted to social media show large groups of people, some wearing masks but many not, and no social distancing, on the Granville strip in the city’s downtown. People appear to be dancing on cars, in the streets and generally not following COVID-19 rules or recommendations. The Granville strip is home to many bars and restaurants that would have shut down at 11 p.m. unless they had a full food menu, having stopped serving alcohol at 10 p.m. per provincial COVID rules.

The partying carried on in the streets despite provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s warnings last week. Her warning came during a week where daily cases have exceed 200. Total cases are now at 14,381, with 2,390 active as of Friday (Oct. 30). The death toll from the pandemic has reached 263 in B.C.

“This Halloween weekend, we need to celebrate in new ways. We need to keep our groups small – in our homes and on the streets,” Henry said during a Thursday (Oct. 29) press conference were she announced 234 new cases and one death, an elderly woman who had caught the virus at child’s birthday party.

Vancouver police Const. Jason Doucette told Black Press Media Sunday (Nov. 1) morning that while police did not yet have a full count of tickets given out, they had extra officers deployed in the area.

“We are disappointed that party goers did not listen to the advice of our Public Health Officer and chose to gather in large crowds along the Granville Mall,” Doucette said.

The majority of crowds gathered were peaceful, and no injuries were reported, but people who “acted out” were removed from the area.

“Our response has to reasonable and proportionate to what were faced with at the time,” he said. “Due to a number of factors on Halloween night, physically attempting to disperse the alcohol fuelled crowd or issue tickets wasn’t appropriate.”

Doucette said there were a “number of arrests” for offences such as causing a disturbance.

READ MORE: B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusHalloweenVancouver

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(James Smith photo)
North Delta crime beat, week of Nov. 23

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

Shawn Canil, a Cloverdale-area resident, turns heads with the truck he’s decorated for Christmas. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Truck’s Christmas decorations lift spirits on Cloverdale man’s commute

‘When I see them smiling, I know it’s worth it,’ pickup driver Shawn Canil says

Ben “Santa” Cohen visits Ecole Martha Currie in Cloverdale Dec. 4. Santa wished everyone a socially-distanced Merry Christmas out in front of the school. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Santa visits Ecole Martha Currie in Cloverdale

First gig of the season for Ben ‘Santa’ Cohen; COVID driving most gigs online

(Delta Police Department photo)
South Delta crime beat, week of Nov. 23

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

At least one person received life-threatening injuries when a car collided with a semi truck in South Surrey on Friday morning. (Brenda Anderson photo)
VIDEO: South Surrey crash sends one to hospital in critical condition

Road closures in effect after collison between car and semi-truck

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Chilliwack General Hospital. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)
Chilliwack mother upset about son’s alleged suicide attempt after hospital discharge

Rhonda Clough said 34-year-old son suffering with bipolar disorder should have been kept in hospital

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

Most Read