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

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

This map illustrates the number of active COVID-19 cases in Greater Vancouver from Feb. 14 to Feb. 20, 2021. (BC Centre for Disease Control image)
Spike in Delta COVID cases as UK variant ID’d in school exposure

Total number of cases in Fraser Health increased by 199 from Feb. 14-20

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
National Police Federation members slam Surrey police transition to Surrey Board of Trade

During virtual meeting, bargaining unit representatives say municipal force ‘not a done deal’

Pixabay image
Surrey council moves to update city’s telecommunication antennas policy

But councillor says health and safety protocols are nearly 40 years old

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Shaelene Keeler Bell. (Facebook)
Candlelight vigil planned for Chilliwack mother missing for four weeks

Virtual event to ‘spread some light’ for 23-year-old Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Most Read